Friday, March 5, 2010

Mind-reading computers turn heads at CeBIT

Devices allowing people to write letters or play pinball using just the power of their brains have become a major draw at Hannover's high-tech CeBIT fair this week.

Huge crowds at the world's biggest technology trade fair gathered round a man sitting at a pinball table, wearing a cap covered in electrodes attached to his head, who controlled the flippers with great proficiency without using hands.

"He thinks: left-hand or right-hand and the electrodes monitor the brain waves associated with that thought, send the information to a computer, which then moves the flippers," said Michael Tangermann, from the Berlin Brain Computer Interface.

But the technology is much more than a fun gadget, it could one day save your life. Scientists are researching ways to monitor motorists' brain waves to improve reaction times in a crash.

In an emergency stop situation, the brain activity kicks in on average around 200 milliseconds before even an alert driver can hit the brake. There is no question of braking automatically for a driver - "we would never take away that kind of control," said Tangermann.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20100304-25673.html

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