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Intel Unveils Mind-Reading Software

April 8, 2010

By reading MRI scans, new software developed by Intel Corp. researchers has been able to correctly discern two words that a person has been thinking about nine out of 10 times, according to an Associated Press (AP) report published Thursday.

According to AP writer Samantha Gross, “The software analyzes functional MRI scans to determine what parts of a person’s brain is being activated as he or she thinks”¦ Eventually, the technology could help the severely physically disabled to communicate. And (Intel Labs researcher Dean) Pomerleau sees it as an early step toward one day being able to control technology with our minds.”

Currently, for optimum results, the system required test subjects to first think about a series of nouns such as different animals or objects. It analyzes the subjects’ brain waves while they are focusing on those words. Then researchers ask the subjects to select one or two new terms and focus on them, and using the different brain activity associated with different types and categories of words, it then is able to predict what new nouns they are currently focusing on.

“The software works by analyzing the shared attributes of different words,” Gross notes. “For example, a person who is thinking of a bear uses the same parts of the brain that light up when he or she thinks of a puppy or something else furry. A person thinking of a bear also shows activity in the amygdale– home of the fight-or-flight response.”

Intel also announced several other technological advances on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Among them are a cell phone that can use motion, GPS, and audio data to track users activity and even present it to others, social networking style; a new technology that can search conversations for inaccuracies and use the information to help end debates or disputes; a holographic display that could be used by stores to help provide directions to shoppers; and a set-top box that can monitor TV viewing habits and suggest related programming options based on an individual’s preferences.

Intel Corp., a computer and integrated electronics company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, has been named one of the 100 most powerful brands by Millward Brown Optimor. It was founded in 1968 by Gordon E. Moore and boasted a 2009 revenue of over $35 billion.

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