April 21, 2013
Mobile Devices Using Mind-Control Being Tested By Samsung
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Samsung is joining forces with an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Dallas to work on a device which could allow you to control your smartphone or tablet computer with your brain.
According to Susan Young of the MIT Technology Review, the device in question is an electroencephalography (EEG) cap which could be used to launch an application, select a specific person out of a list of contacts or a song from a certain playlist, or even turn on/off a mobile device.
“The ultimate goal of the project, say researchers in the company´s Emerging Technology Lab, is to broaden the ways in which all people can interact with devices,” Young wrote.
"While Samsung has no immediate plans to offer a brain-controlled phone, the early-stage research“¦ shows how a brain-computer interface could help people with mobility issues complete tasks that would otherwise be impossible,” she added.
Samsung isn´t the first company to experiment with brain-computer interface technology that used EEG to monitor brainwaves. In fact, some of these devices have already found their way to the market, according to Young.
The South Korean tech company and their UT Dallas associates, however, “monitored well-known brain activity patterns that occur when people are shown repetitive visual patterns,” she wrote.
During their demonstration, they showed users “could launch an application and make selections within it by concentrating on an icon that was blinking at a distinctive frequency,” Young added.
Their focus was to come up with signal processing methods which would extract the correct information required to control a device from relatively weak EEG signals, and then adapt those methods so they could work as an input method on mobile hardware. In addition, they are looking to develop EEG sensors that are easier to use.
“Depending on how many electrodes you have, this can take up to 45 minutes to set up, and the system is uncomfortable,” Roozbeh Jafari, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the Dallas-based university, told the MIT writer.
However, Jafari´s sensors take just 10 seconds to set up and require no liquid bridge, but users still need to wear a wire-covered cap, Young reported. While dry EEG sensors can reduce signal quality, the professor said he and his colleagues are working to improve the system´s brain signal processing quality.
“Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,” said Insoo Kim, who is leading the research for Samsung. “Adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.”