Feb 102010

If you’re attending the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia this month, you’ll have the chance to transmit your brain waves across Canada. When they reach their destination, the province of Ontario, they’ll produce a custom light show on one of three prominent Ontario landmarks – presumably to the amazement of thousands of onlookers. While this might sound like technology straight out of an X-Men movie, it is in fact the latest accomplishment of Toronto-based tech firm InteraXon… and it could be just the tip of the iceberg in the field of thought-controlled computing.

InteraXon’s Bright Ideas demo will be located in Ontario House, a pavilion on the Olympic site, intended to promote the distant province to Games-goers. Visitors will take a seat, put on a headset, then relax and/or concentrate on one of three video screens displaying live images of the landmarks – Toronto’s CN Tower (the world’s second-tallest free-standing structure), Ottawa’s parliament buildings, and Niagara Falls.

The headsets measure the brain’s electrical output, reacting to relaxation-generated alpha waves, and concentration-generated beta waves. InteraXon’s custom software will digitize each users’ alpha/beta output, send that data over 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) via the Internet, and a very public live light show will be the result. With coaching from the Bright Ideas staff, users will be able to control things such as the brightness, color, and speed of the show. According to InteraXon, it will be the largest thought-controlled computing installation ever created.

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