MIT Has Built a Mind-Reading Device

Yes, this is real.  Go ahead and read the headline again.  It will still say the same thing. This is not a hoax.  MIT has built a device that can essentially read your mind.  The device allows you to communicate with a computer system with your thoughts.

The device, called AlterEgo, is a wearable headset that attaches to your jaw and face.  Electrodes on the device pick up neurosignals that you send when you say something in your head.  Human brains send these signals to the mouth when we the words inside our heads but these signals can’t be picked up by human vision. The AlterEgo can detect these signals, and send a communication to a computer terminal somewhere else.

Not only is the system able to understand what the user wants to communicate, but the device is also able to respond.  In particular, the device uses bone conduction so as to not obstruct the ear canal, the way regular earbuds do. This enables a user to retain his full hearing, meaning the user can communicate with both the device and other people at the same time.

This huge breakthrough in engineering could become incredibly useful, allowing you to use a function such as Siri or Alexa without having to stop doing what you are doing.  No one watching would be able to tell what you are doing, which could give you an advantage in daily conversations. For example, you could look up a fact while someone is talking and then have the fact ready to respond while still paying attention to the conversation, without someone calling you rude for pulling out your phone to fact check.  This could also combine with other technologies such as voice synthesizers to potentially give those who can’t speak the ability to communicate.

 

Perritano, John.  “New MIT Headset Can ‘Hear’ Your Thoughts.”  

Mack, Eric.  “You Can Talk to MIT’s Mind-Reading Headset Without Ever Opening Your Mouth.”  Forbes

 

Editor: Maria ‘Stefi’ Ticsa

Julien Osborne

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