For more than 20 years researchers all over the world have been working on the development of a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and looks like the Computer-Human Interface has a new contender technology. Though we’d like to think we’ve come a long way with computers, the keyboard and mouse remain the predominant way we interface with them. We’ve had the unfulfilled promise of handwriting and voice recognition and hope that something better will come along sooner or later. Perhaps this is it – the world’s first commercial effort at a patient-ready brain computer interface is on display over at CeBIT 2010, but don’t go throwing out your keyboard and mouse just yet. Intended for patients suffering from locked-in syndrome and other communication-impairing conditions, the Intendix from Guger Technologies allows users to input text using only their brains.
$12,000 Mind-reading Intendix Technology Will Type Your Thoughts for You
Meet the Indedix, an accessory that hooks up to any computer and allows you to control it with the power of your mind alone, like some kind of Jedi. The Intendix is hardly the first Brain-Computer Interface (or BCI) to come along, and it works similarly to the rest, measuring EEG output as input data. However, it is the most consumer friendly, costing just $12,000, which is pretty cheap for this kind of technology.
Intendix enables the user to select keys from a matrix just by paying attention to a target symbol on the screen. In this way the patient can write messages or commands. intendiX can speak the written text, print it or copy it into an e-mail message. The system is designed to be used without the assistance of a technician and can be installed and operated by the caregiver. For most users intendiX works pretty fine after only a few minutes of training. For paralyzed patients the system has to be tried and evaluated in every specific case.
While this device may be a let down for gamers eager to reduce the wear-and-tear on their wrists, it is a boon for people who are severely disabled or suffer from “locked-in syndrome.” It allows them to more fully interact with the world outside them, helping them be less dependent. And even disappointed gamers will agree that’s a good thing. Another reason for gamers to be let down: a retail price tag of $12,000. Luckily, there is a rent before buy option available.
No matter how the computers of the future will read our thoughts, there’s little doubt that they’ll be communicating directly with our brains. That level of BCI technology is fairly far off on the horizon, however. Right now we have Intendix; the ability to go to a store, buy a device, and start typing with my thoughts is enough to keep me happy for a while.
TechChunks is a Technology Geek, Web Entrepreneur, SEO Consultant and Social Media Evangelist. Prior to starting this blog, TechChunks has spent many productive years as a Software Engineer, Wordpress Blogger, Corporate Trainer, Frequent Conference Speaker and Workshop Leader. Circle TechChunks on Google+!