OK, I know what I want next Christmas: An Emotiv headset, and I’m not even a gamer. This is the next generation of gaming controllers, and although probably the final product will leave much brain-to-computer control to be desired I’d suggest that the type of human to machine interaction this headset is designed to popularized, combined with other research such as BrainGate with implanted electrodes, is the beginning of what we’ll some day view as a profoundly significant era in humanity during which we increasingly merge with our own machines.
Sure this sounds a bit creepy, but we’ve been integrating with machines for, oh, at least as long as the species has been around the planet (and unless you are Mike Huckabee that would be considerably more than 6,000 years).
In a fairly short time humans have gone transitioned from simple tool use such as spears and fashioned rocks to more complicated tools such as cars and computers. We’ve also made modest progress actually bringing tools into and onto our bodies – e.g. eyeglasses, contact lenses, corneal implants, prosthetics, cochlear implants for hearing, and most recently projects like BrainGate make it clear that we can communicate with machines using only signals from our brains.
None of this stuff should really startle people’s sensibilities. There is nothing “magical” about being human. We are a product of the same physical, chemical, and biological forces that brought us other interesting items on earth such as rocks, trees, toadstools, and chimpanzees. Although it’s been popular for many years – even in otherwise scientifically sophisticated circles – to suggest humans have a very different relationship to things than other animals this notion will eventually fall into the dustheap of outmoded hypotheses, and we’ll begin to realize that despite our many notable attributes the most noticeable aspects of humanity are our …. limitations.
CNET Reports on Emotiv over at the Crave gadget blog.