Brainwaves have been getting a lot of press this week, signaling that the era where we can interact with technology using only the power of our minds is close at hand. The large number of applications being released or developed indicates that brainwave computing could hit mass adoption around the same time as touchscreen computing and a fully functional Semantic Web, creating a mature Web 3.0. The best press for this technology was when Adam Wilson, a doctoral student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, sent Twitter messages with his brain waves, via a computer interface that measures brain waves. Revealed with perfect timing, Wilson’s research is benefiting from the Ashton/Oprah adoption wave. Also this week, the first brainwave orchestra debuted at the Science Beyond Fiction conference in Prague.
"There is a first violin, a second violin and so on, except that instead of violins they are brains," said biologist Dr Anna Mura, the project’s director.
While the idea evokes images of a brainwave improvisation with a sound somewhere between Xenakis and Glass, the music was scored, with the performers acting as Cage-like chance agents in a multimedia event. (Speaking of Cage, if you used my brainwaves as an instrument, it would sound EXACTLY like 4'33".)
Brainwave products will also soon be hitting the market.
One of the most visible brainwave projects, Emotiv’s much anticipated brain-wave gaming EPOC headset will launch later this year, selling for $299 a set.
Brainwave toys are expected to be big by the end of the year. In February, the Star Wars Force Trainer was revealed. With a strong brand, an engaging new technology and relatively cheap price, it could mark the beginning of a Brainwave Generation, as long as Uncle Milton Industries, producers of the toy, are careful mention midiclorians in the marketing.
While brainwave computing seems temporal miles away, it's really not, and it does promise to one day do away with our clunky mouse-and-keyboard connection to the world.
Hopefully no one resurrects “jacking in” when naming the ways we ride this mind/machine interface...