Mind Over Matter – The Olympics first brain-powered computer

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 11, 2010 2:31 pm

            Some people will sit and think they would like to be able to do the things they see at the winter Olympics, while others will be literally doing what they think. InteraXon, a new company based out of Canada, is unveiling one of the first thought-provoked computer systems ever created. This system which works off of brain power alone, will be used to control some of the lighting at the Olympic games. Trevor Coleman, the chief operating officer for InteraXon, said, “When people put on the headsets and find themselves increasing the brightness of the lights by just thinking about it, you can almost see their brains explode.”

            The system’s design, which allows users to control a room’s lighting with their mind, involves  two different insturments. The initial component, is the chair, which senses the body’s small movements and relays those messages to a computer. The impulses the chair senses from its user, are compared with the impulses from a probe that is placed on their forehead as well. The probe that rests on the users forehead measures their baseline brain activity, and looks for two types of brain waves.

            To make the lights change by thought, InteraXon’s computer system monitors for two specific brain waves; one is the beta wave, which is associated with concentration, and the second is alpha waves, which is associated with relaxation. By focusing or relaxing, InteraXon’s technology is able to pick up the wearer’s thoughts, or brain waves, and change the lighting accordingly. At Toronto’s CN Tower, where Interaxon has placed two of these chairs as well, patrons can watch as their minds make the lights at the top of the tower go faster or slower.

            Olympic spectators will be allowed to try this new device for themselves at InteraXon’s exhibition tent at the 2010 winter Olympic games. But if you can’t make the Olympics, and find yourself at either Toronto’s CN Tower, Ottawa’s Parliament Building, or Niagara Falls, you can find InteraXon there too, and put your curiosity to the test!