• Adam Smith Institute

    Adam Smith Institute place holder
  • Philosophy & Logic

    Philosophy and Logic
  • Cambridge

  • Children’s SF

    Children's Science Fiction
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 422 other subscribers

Learning to control devices by thought involves brain activity similar to what happens when we learn skills

mind-headsetFollowing my story about the helicopter controlled by thought, there’s new research about what happens in the brain when subjects learn to use these ‘mind machines.’  Scientists have found that the brain activity recorded when they do this is similar to that which takes place when subjects learn new motor skills.  The processing resembles that which happens when people learn to play the piano or to ride a bicycle.  The difference is that there is no direct feedback into the brain as there is when tasks like these are attempted.  In its place there is feedback from observing what happens to the object the mind is attempting to control.

The experimental thought-controlled helicopter is the latest in a long line of devices, some of which are designed to assist people with disabilities.  Some venture into more exotic areas, however.  Samsung, for example, is reported to be working on a ‘mind control’ tablet device.  And I can imagine applications to new types of computer game in which players control their real-world avatars with their minds.  That sounds as though it might be a lot of fun.  I rather think that this technology is going places.  As we reach the stage of being able to control our computers with voice commands in place of keyboard, mouse and touch-screen, the obvious next step will be to have devices we can instruct just by thinking what we want them to do.


One Response

  1. This subject is quite fascinating but it does not mention how or if the device can differentiate between individuals controlling or just watching the device. An ‘ argument ‘ in who controls what involving the simultaneous thought processes of several people at the same time would also be very interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: