Imagine a technology that, through a single sensor, enables a user to control an object or device simply by thinking about it. Nothing as extreme or big brother as mind reading or predicting actions, the technology acts as a binary sensor measuring concentration and causing a visible reaction to a physical artifact.
While some fun games such as Mattel’s Mindflex offers a practical gaming experience others such as Uncles Milton’s Star Wars Force Trainer offers a more hokey albeit attractive and fantasy driven interaction. Still, there is unmeasurable amount of potential in tapping our thoughts while interacting with the physical world. At a glance, there is likely hesitation to wearing a headband to interact with any gaming system (remember Virtual Boy?)
Imagine the hardware becoming more unobtrusive. Now what if a game’s difficulty is not chosen but earned? As a player becomes more complacent with a game, the system detects less concentration as they mindlessly go through the levels – now the difficulty could naturally increase. No longer do I need to choose novice or expert, but based on my level of concentration the game maintains a constant if not increasing level of engagement. Where else outside of gaming can this interaction be used? Zooming into a design file or browsing the internet? Scrolling articles? While the limitations of a binary interaction (more or less concentration) are confining, as various types of thoughts are interpreted what type of mental gestures might develop?
Top image by Neurosky