The Mind Speller is a communications tool from crazy world. Designed by Belgian researchers, the device takes an EEG scan of your brain activity and “writes” letters based on feedback.
The idea isn’t new, but this interesting implementation is. It looks like they did their first video demo last year but it seems the product is now more than just a proof of concept.
It detects and interprets P300 event-related potentials in the EEG-signals of a person that is selecting characters from a display presenting alternate rows and columns of characters. P300 potentials are often used as metrics of cognitive function in decision making processes. However, currently available P300 devices are large, expensive and uncomfortable in use. The Mind Speller, on the other hand, uses a portable device, not larger than a matchbox, connected to a cap that contains electrodes located at specific positions on the head to capture the relevant EEG-signals. The electronics in the matchbox are developed by imec and Holst Centre. It contains imec and Holst Centre’s proprietary ultra-low power 8-channel EEG-chip to process the EEG signals, a commercially available low power microcontroller that digitizes the EEG signals and a low power 2.4GHz radio that transmits the EEG signals wirelessly to a nearby PC. The data is interpreted on the PC by powerful and robust signal processing algorithms developed by the team of Prof. Marc Van Hulle at the lab of neuro- and psychophysiology of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
You presumably can’t buy this thing anywhere but they’re working on new models that use dry electrodes, thereby allowing paralysis victims the ability to use the tool without much mess or fuss.