Apart from its usefulness for severely disabled people, we’ve always thought that speech input and control of computers was a pretty ludicrous idea just by imagining a roomful of people all trying to make their computers hear them above the din of all the other people shouting at their computers. The Silly Season is upon […]
Apart from its usefulness for severely disabled people, we’ve always thought that speech input and control of computers was a pretty ludicrous idea just by imagining a roomful of people all trying to make their computers hear them above the din of all the other people shouting at their computers. The Silly Season is upon us, and for a really off-the-wall input device, you have to go to Sausalito, California, where Ron Gordon, one-time head of Atari Corp, and his new company, The Other 90% Technologies Inc, live. He has unveiled MindDrive, claiming it to be the first-ever technology to enable people to operate computers and other products with the power of their minds alone. With the MindDrive, you don’t need a keyboard, a joystick or a mouse to work with a computer, all you need are your thoughts, Gordon says. The device uses a sensor sleeve that slips onto your finger, and is connected to small control console to take signals from your thoughts, which are transmitted from your mind via the finger sensor. For years, the company asserts, it has been possible to measure output and strength of these signals, adding that the MindDrive goes far beyond these basic measurements and recognises and reads the complex matrix of signals produced by thought with a sophistication and precision that until now has been impossible. Proprietary artificial intelligence software, developed by the firm and built into the small MindDrive unit, interprets the signals and translates them into commands recognisable by a standard personal computer. Gordon promises the thing will be available early next year at between $100 and $200 depending on the software included. There will be an Entertainment Series of thought-controlled video games, toys and games; an Education Series for training memory, concentration and creativity skills; and a Peak Performance Series of programs to enhance work, school and sports performance. So how well does the thing work? A Wall Street Journal reporter had a go and confesses he was able to exert some control in playing several games, including directing a skier through animated slalom gates. I think it’s remarkable, said Mark Stahlman, president of New Media Associates, New York, adding that he thinks that the thing needs more development work.