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dgnjuliennea

What are the Practical Applications of the Emotiv Headset?

The Emotiv headset is a pioneering device that allows a user to interact with a virtual environment by reading his/her ‘thoughts’. Essentially, the device records the brain’s electrical signals and translates your thought-commands into virtual actions.

The Emotiv headset works by employing a device known as an EEG, or electroencephalograph, to monitor the brain waves (and emotional responses) of each gamer, almost instantaneously translating those readings into virtual reactions, movements and responses.

The practical applications could be enormously good, but also potentially hideous. On the plus side, disabled users could have their lives completely turned around, regaining an enormous amount of independence by thought-controlling various household appliances. To develop the idea, paraplegic and quadriplegic users could create thought-controlled virtual avatars and interact with other people in real time.

The potential to revolutionize the world of gaming is also very evident, as Jane McGrath, of How StuffWorks.com, explains,

“If the EEG gaming technology eventually catches on, it could revolutionize the way people think about video games in much the same way the Nintendo Wii did (or perhaps more). On the one hand, with its facial expression interpretations, the Emotiv EPOC attempts to close the gap further between the real world and the virtual world to create a more realistic experience, much like the Wii does. On the other hand, the Emotiv EPOC also tries to bridge the gap between human thought and the outside world to create an experience that's less like reality and more fantastical and dreamlike. The technology behind EPOC eliminates the middleman of motion altogether -- a staggering thought to consider”.

Of the possible downside, which is potentially chasmic, McGrath states.

“Should researchers continue making more breakthroughs to advance EEG technology, it could plausibly lead to computers that can, in essence, read someone's mind. Those with the technology could be privy to the private thoughts, opinions and emotions of others. Granted, this could be very far off, considering where the technology (and our understanding of the human brain) is now. Nevertheless, we can't rule out the possibility entirely. Perhaps we shouldn't dismiss the prospect of Thought Police (like that in George Orwell's "1984") as mere alarmism”.

Frankly, this thing creeps me out. I just don’t like the idea of a thought-activated computer, it makes my skin crawl. But hey, that’s just me. Also, if you’re a male of the species, you’d likely be dredging up porn sites every 7 seconds.

It has also been suggested in some quarters that you’ll be able to simply think of a person and that said computer system will automatically place a call to them. The last thing I want to do is be thinking about some old girlfriend of whatever and suddenly end up phoning her. No, just no. That’s a can of worms that simply doesn’t need opening up, thank you very much.

However, whatever my thoughts on it happen to be (and, for now at least, I have the option to keep them private), the Emotiv Epoc headset will soon be available to the average consumer, priced around $299 (that’s just under £200 to us Brits).

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