The Mind Reading Car of the Future
By Craig Cole / Auto Guide
Freer Logic’s BodyWave technology monitors brain activity via sensors that make contact with your skin. Of course scientists and researchers have been able to do the same thing for years, but it’s required cumbersome headsets until now.
Whether you’re doing calculus, meditating or even sound asleep, that wrinkly lump of tissue perched between your ears is constantly busy. Our brains produce different kinds of waves depending on what we’re doing. During sleep, delta waves tend to dominate, but if you’re engaged in a demanding task beta waves take over. What Freer Logic’s technology can do is measure these waves, parse the data and enable action based solely on what’s going through heads.
As for real-world applications, the company has offered a brain-monitoring product for nearly 20 years. Their Play Attention device is an educational training system designed for adults and children with attention-deficit disorder. Built into a small armband this system aims to improve behavior and cognitive function.
And the results are real. The effectiveness of this product has been proven by three independent, randomized, controlled studies performed by the Tufts University School of Medicine. Freer Logic has five patents on it with more in the works.
Making a logical leap, it’s not hard to see how this could be adapted to automotive applications. And the company demonstrated one possible use case monitoring driver behavior. With biometric sensors mounted in the rim of a steering wheel they can measure a motorist’s cognitive load, their mood or even if they’re starting to become drowsy.
Accordingly, if the driver is becoming too stressed the car could start a playlist of soothing music, or if they’re getting sleepy it can tell them to pull over and take a nap. But beyond simply warning you of danger it’s not inconceivable that in the future you could control vehicle functions by just thinking. Imagine turning fog lights on, changing the radio station or interfacing with a navigation system using your mind.
Freer Logic is in talks with automakers and tier-one suppliers about getting this technology in vehicles, but the possibilities are endless, especially in the consumer-electronics space. Someday soon you might be able to control your cell phone or change TV stations by just thinking.