By Sudarshana Banerjee

IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.

Kevin Brown of IBM Software Group’s Emerging Technologies talks about a device called the EPOC from Emotiv Lifesciences in a IBM blog post.  The EPOC has several sensors sitting on your head, that actually read electrical brain impulses. You can train the device so that by thinking a particular thought, an action can take place on your computer. So for example, using Emotiv’s software, you can see a cube on your computer screen and think about moving it to the left, and it will.

Mind reading will no longer be the realm of science fiction. Within five years, we will begin to see early applications of this emerging technology in the gaming and entertainment industry, says IBM. Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism.

Scientists at UC Berkeley have also designed and developed a special MRI scan that can model our visual thoughts both while we are awake, but even more intriguingly, while we are dreaming.

Mr. Brown’s post is part of the IBM 5 in 5 – a set of five predictions of emerging technologies that IBM believes will change our lives in the next five years.

[Image Courtesy: Mr. Kevin Brown, IBM]