What's On Your Mind? University of Texas Researchers Testing Mind-Controlled Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Texas-Dallas, are developing mind control technology that will allow people with a variety of impairments to more easily interact with mobiles devices.

The basic underlying technology at work is EEG-monitoring electrodes; a user wears a skull cap with a series of electrodes connected to it, and the whole package detects brain signals. Researchers, having identified typical brain activity patterns that people evince when they see repetitive visual patterns, use the patterns to allow them to trigger events on a device.

Samsung Mind Control
Credit: MIT Technology Review

Currently, they’re working in the lab with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, and with the EEG technology, they’re attempting to allow users to perform typical mobile computing tasks such as launching an app, choosing contacts, selecting a song from a playlist, or turning the device on or off. According to the MIT Technology Review, so far the team has successfully demoed the ability to launch and interact with an app by focusing on a blinking icon. Speed apparently depends on the individual user, but the researchers say that its test subjects could perform an action about every five seconds and achieved an accuracy of about 80% to 95%.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

“Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,” Samsung’s lead researcher Insoo Kim told Technology Review. “Adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.”

Obviously, this technology has a long way to go before it can be efficient at all, let alone make it out of the lab and become generally available, but Samsung’s efforts here should be lauded. Any technology that helps people overcome an infirmity is good technology.