Thought control finds a practical application

The demo of a prototype thought controlled in-flight entertainment system shows that this technology is reaching the point where it can be of practical usefulness.

A major possible application for such systems is to help severely disabled users communicate. Hands free mobile phones and in car entertainment systems are also possibilities but using them to control military aircraft weapons systems as in Hollywood movies is way off, although it has been investigated.

The entertainment control system was shown at an "On the Wings of Innovation" symposium organised by the Ontario Aerospace Council and the Ontario Government and has been developed by Toronto company InteraXon.

"We think it's time that in-flight entertainment does more than simply distract you," says InteraXon CEO Ariel Garten, "We create in-flight experiences the offer value even after the flight is over." The suite of applications InteraXon created for the conference included a meditation trainer that helps travellers relax and an EEG Golf trainer that helps users improve their concentration, focus and their golf game.

The system measures the brain's electrical output and reacts to alpha waves, associated with relaxation, and beta waves, associated with concentration. As the users relax or focus their thoughts, their brainwaves become the interface with which users control the game.

"Airline passengers are saying they want a more engaging experience or they want to rest comfortably. InteraXon's thought-controlledcomputing offers tremendous potential for delivering on both of those needs." said Rod Jones, Executive Director of Aerospace Ontario, "InteraXon has world-leading technology and it's a marvellous illustration of the kind of innovative ideas that we find in Ontario."

The system was previously demonstrated in Ontario House during the Vancouver Olympics, where it was used to allow users to control the lights on the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and the Parliament Buildings using thoughts alone from more than 3000km away.

Tom Shelley

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