A creative agency team, called This Place, has released an app for Google Glass, the head-worn mobile device released in the UK by Google a month ago, that lets users control the device using their mind. The app is called MindRDR, and is available for free online and sounds like the answer to all of the existing problems surrounding Google Glass – namely the methods of communicating with it – talking to your head to make it work can be unacceptable in quite a lot of circumstances. However, this does not solve the main issue with Google Glass, which is that you look a little weird whilst wearing it– this really does not help on that problem. Instead, the app uses an additional headband called the Neurosky EEG Biosensor to detect concentration levels in the brain, and then uses this to perform tasks on screen.
However, there are a couple of downsides to this method of detecting your brain waves. The first is that you have to wear even more plastic around your head, which means that you couldn’t really use it in the real world unless you have no worries about fashion (or if you never need to wear a hat). The second downside is that, in addition to the £1000 that Google Glass will cost you; the EEG Biosensor will cost £71. This means that this is only really available to people with plenty of cash who don’t care what they look like. This has suddenly and quite dramatically reduced the number of people that this would appeal to.
So far this has very limited uses and can only really be used as a method of taking pictures and then posting them to a social networking site if you want to. Other uses have been tried, but a lack of precision meant that other apps, such as games, were very hard to control resulting in massive frustration in players.
This method of controlling devices does have massive potential, as it could quite easily be used to give people with physical disabilities the same kind of control over smartphones and computers that physically able people take for granted. The system would require quite significant fine tuning before this would work though, as it would only be useful as a solution if it worked properly and could do more than just take photos.