Introducing the Brain-Computer Interface

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

David Farkas

David is an interaction(s) designer working in the online and mobile realm. He focuses on the relation between the digital and the physical. Usability, goal oriented design, and consistency are key.

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