back to article Typing merely by thinking - plugless brainjack kit invented

Boffins in America say they have developed a portable, direct brain-computer interface - and there's good news for all you cyberpunks out there, as it requires no dangerous, risky plug into your skull. The new tech, according to its developers, requires nothing more than ordinary electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes …

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  1. The Indomitable Gall

    AAAAAAAAARGH! Bad science reporting!

    "One day, a relatively simple headset may allow a person to manipulate a cursor and enter text without benefit of such antique interfaces as mouse, keyboard, voice-control or touchscreen - so freeing up his or her hands for critical tasks such as drinking coffee or scratching."

    The point is that they are reading instructions to muscles. To drink coffee you have to think about moving your hands appropriately. If you're thinking about drinking coffee, you won't be able to think about typing simultaneously without spilling it!

  2. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up

    Yes!

    I've been waiting 30 years for this. Why does the most advanced technology on the planet have to be tied to a typewriter?

    Next, do away with the screen.

  3. Ben Rosenthal

    Most important question

    will it break the TOS? :D

    1. James Butler

      Re: Most important question

      How long before Apple decides to sue for infringing on its patents?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Far from it...

      ...it'll improve it, as you'll be able to use both hands.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Frees your hands up for other things???

    The internet truly will be just for porn

    Paris - obviously

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    In practice

    I can just imaging what the typed output of this would be:

    "here's the <wow that's a big bit of wax I just picked out of my ear> report you asked <phwooooar!> for <I wonder what's for tea?>. As you can see <bloody phone, why doessn't anyone answer it> the main recommendations <kinell, what was that?> will require <hmmm, I think I'll get a coffee> an additional budget of <I don't know why I'm writing this garbage, no-one reads it and they're all to stupid to follow it> £two million <I think I'll take tomorrow off sick> ..."

    Maybe not.

  6. M7S
    Thumb Up

    So the Eee Keyboard PC is now too late for the minimalist office. Still there IS a bright side...

    I'll willingly wire up the users heads in my office. I might one day use a heavier guage than they expect.

    Mwah ha ha ha.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge
    Stop

    Cyberpunk?

    Nah! All the ones I've read the surface contact headsets were both readily available and widely used, but the serious boys still went for jacks to get improved response, throughput and feedback.

    This is just the wussy option, gimme the real thing.......

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Too late

    I think apple just patented and killed it :/

  9. Blake St. Claire
    FAIL

    so first you have to learn how to type?

    No, I want to think whole words.

    With no headset.

    And egg in my beer.

    Send them back to the drawing board.

  10. Tony Green

    Thinks...

    "rm -rf slash"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    yea.. but...

    ... will it fix the typing and grammar mistakes?

    or will the universe use this tool to give us bigger and stronger idiots?

    1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      I just invented the foolproof [X]!

      ...and the universe invented a bigger fool.

  12. Stu Kennedy
    Thumb Up

    Really?

    Think Format C:...................

    PWNED

  13. Sampler

    groovy

    lets me continue with my overuse of PC's without aggravating my RSI (which really should be an indicator that maybe I shouldn't spend so much time on the blinking box of lights).

  14. A B 3
    Joke

    Don't let Microsoft gert hold of it...

    Or your brain will crash frequently. Apple will delete all your pornography.

  15. Andy Miller
    Go

    RSI

    As a sufferer from RSI, who makes a living typing, this is good news. I often worry what will happen if I can no longer type.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      You haven't understood

      This technology reads your brain as you carry out the thoughts that trigger the finger movements. It doesn't mean that you don't have to move your fingers, but it does mean that you can still type if your fingers aren't there.

      But if your fingers/wrists/arms are very sore rather than missing, these thoughts will still trigger the movements and exacerbate the pain.

      (Former sufferer of a (thankfully) mild RSI, still requiring careful management of keying time and posture.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But

        But for RSI this technology could be combined with a hand restrainer. Kind of a rigid pair of gloves with a soft inner lining perhaps.

      2. Ammaross Danan
        Terminator

        Alternative

        I take it no one read the Reg article about how Sex may be the culprit in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, not typing?

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/21/carpal_tunnel_syndrome/

        Not quite RSI, but perhaps linked?

        But seriously, to make a brief (well, sort of) mention of the brainjack idea. A halo that can interpret thought it nice and all, but a brainjack into the brainstem will allow total Nervous System interception. When you run in your VR world, you don't have to be physically running, so the BrainJack2000(tm) filters such actions from passing along your spinal cord. Of course, it would need to be positioned above the lower brain so breathing and such isn't affected (or better hope the ipchains/tables people got their filters correct!). There is the added benefit of the brainjack being capable of SENDING information back to the brain. Neurofeedback and the like. Kick a rock? Make you feel like you kicked it. Of course, more ipchains/tables to sort out to prevent rogue software from sending a "you're being burned alive" signal.... Perhaps have a sliding scale of pain and such you would like to be let through, like adjusting volume.

  16. Graham Marsden
    Coat

    Brainjack?

    I need one of those like I need a hole in my head...

    (Mine's the one with the mirror shades in the pocket)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Can we focus enough?

    I'm all for improvement but the thing is, if we are supposed to believe the things they say about our sexes, about what we think about, will this really be productive for us?

    Paperclip to woman > It looks like you are writing a shopping list...

    Woman > No, I'm trying to type a letter, stop reading my other thoughts, but then again I probably should get that shopping done...

    Paperclip to man > It looks like you want to masturbate...

  18. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    may I be the first to say...

    fuck no, you aren't reading my mind. I mean, it's great for people with physical disabilities, but for the rest of us, it's one step closer to Mind Control, or at least piercing the sanctity of our innermost thoughts. Fuck no. Not to mention what happens when it's Google who's processing your thoughts on the other end.

    Stay out of a Pirate's brain. It's not safe in there. There actually IS a big red button that starts global thermonuclear war.

  19. Jason Bloomberg
    Joke

    Will ...

    Will thinking it allow me to accidentally Format Drive C Colon ? Yes, I'm sure, it could.

    Oh fsck, it has !!!!

  20. Celticguy
    Coat

    So..

    does this mean Rache Bartmoss is the PFY??

    I'll be in the Arasaka data fortress, running the latest Demon.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    New discovery?

    How is this new?

    You've got commercial products currently available, albeit with practically no software available, such as the Emotiv already? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyOhnBeYGDw

    It's pricey, and somewhat sluggish, but it does work.

    And it's a lot less invasive that what the folks at some universities have been working on.

    1. Mike Flugennock
      FAIL

      Actually, I seem to recall...

      ...one of the first peripheral devices released for the Mac, back around '85, was a little headset-like device with little (microwave? radio?) emitters that transmitted to a little box directly centered on the top front of the Mac case, connected to the mouse port, which translated head movements into cursor movements and, also iirc, a little pad that you clicked with. I don't recall how well it really worked, but they didn't sell that many of them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    got to be an improvement ..

    'Typing merely by thinking' eh ? I like it. Got to be better than the current craze of typing with no thought whatsoever ...

  23. Vin King

    Unfortunately

    The feedback potential of a wired jack is so impressive, that I'd rather have that. Augmented reality via direct neural interface? Sign me the fuck up.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    I'd be missing the brain-jack

    Always thought it was so cool to have a brain jack a la Ghost in the Shell or the Matrix.

  25. El Richard Thomas

    Anyone here had an EEG?

    The electrodes have to be fairly precisely positioned, and are held on with a device not unlike a swimming cap (attractive!). Once positioned each one needs a glob of conducting gel to maximise the contact with the skin - I'm not sure if applying it with a syringe and needle slightly scratching the skin under each contact was absolutely necessary or just a product of the technician's sadism. And the gel is a bugger to get out of your hair.

    I think I'll stick with the keyboard until the technology improves ;-)

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