Rise of the robots

Most technological innovations leave us excited, but occasionally they also leave us kind of freaking out. And the thought-controlled computer is definitely in the latter category.

Yes, you heard us right. They've been trying for some time, and now scientists have successfully made a computer which can be controlled by thought. Well, not totally controlled - no-one's winning at Crysis 2 just by thinking who to shoot just yet. But the cursor on this latest device can be moved around by brain waves. It may not look that impressive, but it's a great leap forward. The scientists behind the research point out that moving a cursor left and right and 'clicking' are the only feedbacks required for a lot of quite complex applications - for example, you could choose an option from a scrolling list and select it to work a jukebox.

Fun! Fun! So when do we get to try it out? Well, it's not that simple. This isn't like old-fashioned brain-wave monitoring, where a cap of electrodes is just placed on your head. That loses too much data in transition, apparently. This is a bit more intense:

Electrocorticography, by contrast, is so named because it taps directly into the brain's cortex - the outermost layer of the brain.

In a surgical procedure, a plastic pad containing a number of electrodes is implanted under the skull.

Hmm, we'll settle for controlling our vending machines with buttons for the time being, thanks.

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