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Get ready for virtual smart home controlled by thoughts

Scientists have inched closer to creating a virtual smart home that lets users perform everyday tasks with thoughts alone.

Written by Agencies | London | Published: May 28, 2009 12:45:53 pm

Scientists have inched closer to creating a virtual smart home that lets users perform everyday tasks with thoughts alone,a development that could prove a boon for people with physical disabilities.

Thanks to the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology being developed in Europe light switches,TV remote controls and even house keys could become a thing of the past.

“The BCI lets people turn on lights,change channels on the TV or open doors just by thinking about it,” said Christoph Guger,the CEO of Austrian medical engineering company g.tec that developed the technology.

The technology,which was demonstrated at CeBIT in Hannover in March,provides an innovative way of controlling the interconnected electronic devices that will populate the smart homes of the future,granting increased autonomy to people with physical disabilities as well as pleasing TV channel-surfing couch potatoes.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment is used to monitor electrical activity in a user’s brain via electrodes attached to their scalp.

After a period of training,the system learns to identify the distinctive patterns of neuronal activity produced when they imagine walking forwards,flicking on a light switch or turning up the radio,the Science Daily online reported.

It said the research could offer liberating possibilities for people with physical disabilities as it is able to move and control objects in virtual reality solely by the power of thought.

“A virtual environment could be used to train a disabled person to control an electric wheelchair through a brain-computer interface,” explains Mel Slater,the coordinator of the Presenccia project.

“It is much safer for them to learn in VR than in the real world,where mistakes could have physical consequences,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

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