Bits & Bytes
OUT OF YOUR MIND - AND INTO THE PC
BOTH COMMERCIAL AND GOVernment scientists have been researching the concept of thought-driven computers for years. And while creating a computer that responds to a command that a user is merely thinking of--for example, "open file"--is still far from realization, one small privately held company thinks it has a device that's a step forward. After seven years of research, an outfit named Other 90% Technologies Inc. in Sausalito, Calif., has come up with a system called Mind Drive, a finger-mounted pad with six bio-sensors and a black box that attaches to any IBM-compatible PC.
Company founder Ron Gordon says human thoughts and emotions produce more than just a series of brain waves: They project a whole slew of physiological reactions--such as changes in skin temperature, pulse rates, and the body's natural electrical fields. Gordon claims his fingertip pad can measure such minute bodily changes and, using artificial-intelligence techniques, that the black box can, in theory, gauge what a person is feeling--and thus thinking. Based on this biometric routine, he says the device can be used for simple computer controls such as maneuvering an on-screen object.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG