Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Ultimate Pointing Device

I have posted here and there about the various pointing devices on the market and how they work (or don't) within the PACS environment. They all attempt to translate your thoughts into motion on the screen in some manner. Wouldn't it be nice to eliminate the mechanical middlemen and just "think" your way through a study?

As reported in Medgadget, our friends at Microsoft are working on just such a project. No, their goal is not a new PACS interface, of course, but this would certainly be a great application for such technology.

The project is in a very preliminary state, but the essence is this:

We have built software infrastructure that acquires the signal from our EEG devices, transforms our data into relevant features for our machine learning algorithms to build predictive models, and classifies new data in real time. The system also allows us to easily store, playback, and visualize raw as well as classified data.

They have used this primitive prototype to control various tasks, including playing the video game Halo. That's not bad.

Some comments made on this topic suggest that the technology will be used for mind-reading, and other nefarious purposes. I seriously doubt, however, that such capabilities will be present for quite a while, as in decades at least. Would you trust Microsoft with the keys to your brain? Perhaps, as long as they don't try to apply patches or service releases!

In the meantime, consider the possibilities of powering through your daily stack by concentrating on the images. I guess this means I'll be even more sedentary than I am already. Maybe Microsoft can come up with some virtual muscle stimulation.

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