Email on my mind

21 Nov 2008

Telepathy may or may not be the ultimate disruptive technology to the wireless sector, but it's not just science fiction, either. The US Army recently awarded a grant to researchers at University of California, Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland to send emails and voice messages using only the power of the mind.

The technology behind the project is 'synthetic telepathy', in which one uses an electroencephalograph (EEG) to read electrical activity in the brain and translate it into a command that computers can understand.

It's not as far out as it sounds. A number of universities and start-up companies have been working on similar brain-controlled interfaces for years, and EEG headsets are already commercially available for things like specialized video games, although they're not accurate enough for apps like composing text messages.

But more accurate brain-mapping technologies like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) could fix that, even though they're currently too large and costly to work as headsets - at least for now. So the Bluetooth SIG is safe for another 15 to 20 years.

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