Mind over matter? Local invention makes 'mind bending' a reality

Mind over matter? Local invention makes 'mind bending' a reality »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mind over matter? With this game, that adage becomes reality.

With the invention of the Emotiv, you put on a headset – and concentrate. The maker of the Emotiv says your brain waves power a fan, which then moves a ball up and down at your whim.

And researchers say this is just the beginning of what you eventually will be able to move with your mind.

The beginnings
The future is being created right in Old Town Portland.

"When everything is connected correctly, it will turn green," Amber Case, a cyborg anthropologist testing the latest features on this "brain computer interface."

The headset goes on, and an amber case gets ready to transmit directly from the wearer's brain.

"I can see my brainwaves," said Case.

All it takes is a thought to move the cube on the screen.

"I can make it float, or I can make it drop," she says, putting the game into action. "I can make it come forward or backward or way back in the horizon."

It's like an EEG brain reader from a hospital, but now it could be found in offices and homes at your command.

"I am actually controlling it, which is funny," Case said.

The future
This "brain computer interface" technology is just beginning to develop. With it, games such as "Brain Pong" turn you into the joy stick.

However, researchers in Portland and around the world have bigger ideas than mere games.

"I hope we are able to come up with exercises people will be able to use to improve their lives," said researcher Kyle Drake.

Drake of Portland is working with a Minneapolis researcher on a project where you could use the headset to reduce your anxiety.

"It's like lightning-fast Zen Buddhism, actually," he said.

Future development will go beyond the screen. Paralyzed people could power their own lives again.

"And be able to sit there like this and act and move objects around," Case said. "[It] would allow them to be able to talk again, and move things around again."

In practice
For now, you can find your mind power in games. In North Portland, 12-year-old Aaron Lukosh uses the tool to build his concentration skills at home.

"Right now, I am thinking of the ball, how it is blue and round," Lukosh said. "That's what is making it go up and down."

His thoughts power the fan that moves the ball up and down. He dials to move the fan around the circle.

Aaron and his mother would like to use their brain power on other objects, like pens to write out Aaron's homework or brooms for housework.

"In terms of what could it do... I could think the floors clean," his mother laughs.

But this stuff of science fiction may become a science fact in everyday life, where a new generation may grow up skilled in brain bending – controlling their world with their minds.

"To me, the big thing is recognizing that thoughts are actually power," said Aaron's mom while testing out the unit herself. "The sky is the limit."

Some changes are already happening as a result of this brain-powered technology.

A headset can now be used to type out what you think, although slowly. The U.S. Archery Team is using these headsets to find the brain status that will get them the best shots. And even Honda is looking into brain-power features for what could be your next car.

 
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