We all knew this would come one day, especially since the basic technology has been around for some time, and now we have it: A brain activity-powered remote control that can be used without you having to lift a finger. The Hitachi device is unfortunately just a prototype, but at least they’re planning to commercialize it within three to four years.
The technology is being developed not for lazy couch potatoes but for something that actually makes a lot of sense: Hitachi says they would like to see physically handicapped people using the remote control in the future (think about how many times a day you push buttons on your remote when watching TV).
All that users need to do is to think about changing channels or control the volume on a TV to make that happen (the technology can naturally be used for other appliances as well). A headset scans the user’s brain with near-infrared rays, measuring changes in blood flow (which indicate activity) in the brain. It then sends the brain signals to the remote control through optical fiber, making the remote beam infrared signals to the appliance in question.
Hitachi’s brain-machine interface system weighs just 1kg. The company says similar systems are as large as a fridge.
(My apologies for the small picture, which is the only one available at this point.)
Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]