Stephen Hawking Helps Test The 'iBrain', A Mind-Reading Headband

Before you even think it, no, Apple isn't moving into the brain-reading business. The iBrain is the work of a US company called NeuroVigil, headed by neuroscientist Dr Philip Low. Last year, prominent physicist Dr Stephen Hawking, who suffers from the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, allowed NeuroVigil to test the device on his formidable mind in an attempt to learn how his brain "thinks".

While the device (above, complete with its litigation magnet of a name) resembles a tiny pair of sumo underpants, there's quite a lot going on within its decorative black coverings. Like similar technologies, it's designed to read a patient's brain waves so they can be analysed for a "consistent and repeatable pattern". Once these patterns a recognised, they can be mapped to actions or potentially interpreted directly into speech — though that goal is some way of in the distance.

Come July, Low and Hawking will present the data from last year's tests to the rest of the neuroscience community. While Hawking is on-board with the technology and speaking positively of it, he says his current set-up, which he interfaces with using a cheek switch, is still faster.

[NYT]

Image: Washington Post/ NeuroVigil

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