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Use mind control to run your appliances

08 Aug 2014  | R. Colin Johnson

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Philips Digital Accelerator Lab aimed to integrate this new brain-wave controller with its other brands, such as its Lifeline Medical Alert Service that allows emergency calls to be made just by thinking about them; Philips Hue personal wireless lighting for turning on and changing the intensity and colour of lights; and its Smart TVs that could give patients access to the web.

The patients can train the system using their own kind of mental imagery to perform various tasks, so far proving the concept for turning on specific lights and controlling their brightness, turning on/off the television, changing its volume, making a call on the Philips LifeLine emergency response system, and sending predefined text messages to friends and caregivers, such as "Are you watching the game?" or "I'm ready for dinner," or "I'm uncomfortable," or "I'm having an emergency," and so on.

Emotiv Insight Brainware runs its entire software repertoire on any Android tablet on the input side, then on the output side uses Philips controllers attached to all the devices you want to control, such as a Philips Smart TV or LifeLine. The system can use any wearable display on the market for feedback to the patient, including Google Glass, Epson's AR Glasses, or the ReCon Jet.


Figure 4: Philips' proof-of-concept pictures patients using their thoughts alone or in conjunction with muscles, eye tracking, voice, and touch to send brain commands to an Android tablet that then controls TVs, lighting, medical alerts, and even email, while providing feedback with a wearable display. (Source: Philips/Accenture)

To keep the system from turning things on and off by fleeting thoughts, the software forces the patient to stay on a given thought for a certain period to activate the functions. Examples include thinking of a bouncing ball to turn on a light, or riding a bicycle to change the channel on TV, or running to activate the LifeLine emergency response team.

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