Some of the most popular toys on the children’s list to Santa on Christmas eve like remote-operated cars, helicopters and toy robots may soon be controlled via a headset using the power of thoughts, scientists say.
Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK have developed a technology which allows electronic devices to be activated using electrical impulses from brain waves, by connecting our thoughts to computerised systems.
This could be based on levels of concentration – thinking of your favourite colour or stroking your dog, for example, researchers said. Instead of a hand-held controller, a headset is used to create a brain-computer interface – a communication link between the human brain and the computerised device.
Sensors in the headset measure the electrical impulses from brain at various frequencies – each frequency can be somewhat controlled, under special circumstances. This activity is then processed by a computer, amplified and fed into the electrical circuit of the electronic toy.
“Whilst brain-computer interfaces already exist – there are already a few gaming headsets on the market – their functionality has been quite limited,” said Christopher James, professor at Warwick. “New research is making the headsets now read cleaner and stronger signals than ever before – this means stronger links to the toy, game or action thus making it a very immersive experience,” said James.