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How mind control will change the way we interact with machines

The Emotiv EEG headsets can now be used for everyday functions or to monitor tourist attractions.



Did you hear the one about the show where someone uses a brainwear device to move objects with their minds? If you’re a fan of “Fringe,” “Agents of Shield,” or “Supergirl,” you’ve probably seen a character use mind control with an Emotiv EEG headset and thought that’s cool, but that’s so science fiction.

On the other hand, if you’ve watched “The Bachelor” or “Brain Games: Battle of the Sexes,” you know that brainwear devices are not only for real, but they can be used to move objects with your thoughts. Brainwear headsets are so ubiquitous that Chelsea Handler even donned an Emotiv headset in her mockumentary to help with her short-attention span difficulties.

Founded by Tan Le and Dr. Geoff Mackellar in 2011, Emotiv has helped pioneer mind control in the form of mobile EEG headsets. The cool-looking, brainwear headsets can be used to not only read your thoughts (well, your brainwaves), they can also help you move enabled devices with your minds (just like Jedi masters).

Le admits the inspiration for mind control came from watching “Star Wars” as a child. After seeing Luke Skywalker move objects with his mind, she wanted to make science fiction into science fact. And after 15 years of research and development, she has.

While TV shows have used her EEG headsets exclusively for fun—couples competing against each other to move toy racing cars or showing their brainwave reactions to events—Le says there are very real and very useful “hands-free” applications for the device.

Recently, a quadriplegic Brazilian man— Rodrigo Hübner Mendes—was able to drive a Formula 1 racing car with his thoughts alone using Emotiv technology. Le sees our business future is full of synergistic possibilities between humans and machines, where people will be able to use their minds to control enabled devices.

How EEG headsets read your mind

The Emotiv technology uses wireless headsets, which look a little like a tiara, with sensors attached that can measure your EEG brain activity.

EEG is short for electroencephalography, the method used to record the electrical activity of the brain. With special software, you can use the EEG information to track your mental performance, monitor your emotions, or even control virtual and physical objects with your thoughts.

It should be noted that EEG is different than EKG (electrocardiography), which is the method to record the electrical activity of the heart. While the heart can move minds, it cannot move objects, which is what sets these Emotiv devices apart.

Mind control.

People can now use mind control via mobile EEG headsets. (Source)

Personal and research applications

Besides mind control, Emotiv devices can also be used for science, market, and personal research. The company promotes their EEG headsets for personal growth and development as well as science. By monitoring your EEG brainwaves, you can use the feedback to help improve your focus, reduce stress, or deepen meditation practice.

In market research, there are many applications for EEG headsets. In Singapore, one tourism company used the Emotiv EEG headsets to monitor the reactions of children and adults at various tourist attractions.

From the data gathered on how children and adults reacted to various tourist activities, the market researchers were able to determine what people really liked, discovering that kids were just as excited to try out new foods as going to science museums.

With mind control and mind reading applications, you might say the business future is not in space, it is in our heads.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.


Ken is the Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at BigSpeak. Ken's main focus is marketing and partnering with Fortune 1000 clients to create specialized consulting programs with effective leadership development objectives. Ken is also responsible for BigTechnology, an initiative to develop best-of-breed learning management systems for BigSpeak's clients. Ken's background includes working with KPMG as a technology and management consultant, co-founding a technology company (cloud computing), co-founding an international, vertically integrated manufacturing company and working as Executive Vice President at a boutique asset management firm charged with operating real estate and hospitality assets. Ken holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from the University of California, an M.B.A. from Babson College and earned his B.A. in Communication and Applied Psychology from the University of California.