We’ve now become quite used to sweeping our fingers across our iPods and iPhones to turn pages and squeezing our fingers together to change the size of photographs on the small screens. But what about tapping into our brainwaves to create noticeable changes in the physical landscape around us?
Wired magazine details what a Canadian company has called the “largest thought-controlled computing installation,” a process by which people can use their brainwaves to control the lights at three major landmarks in Canada.
“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,” says Trevor Coleman, chief operating officer for InteraXon, the company that has created this installation.
The exhibit will be set up for two weeks at Toronto’s CN Tower, Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings and Niagara Falls. Two chairs will be placed near each site, and visitors will be asked to put on a headset.
“The headsets have an external probe that touches the wearer’s forehead to measure the baseline brain activity. The chairs are rigged to offer tactile feedback as users enter the desired brain state.
The headset measures the brain’s electrical output and reacts to alpha waves, associated with relaxation, and beta waves, which indicate concentration.
As users relax or focus their thoughts, the computer sends a message to the site they are viewing. InteraXon’s software translates users’ thoughts to commands that will change the lighting display.
For instance, by concentrating, users can make the lights at the CN Tower spin faster or change the brightness of the lights at Niagara Falls.
Guests to Canada during this month’s Olympic Games may be blown away by this remarkable feat. Or, perhaps they will merely take it in stride, reflecting that these baby steps of harnessing our alpha and beta waves are just the beginning of our collective acknowledgment of the incredible power that intuition and intention play in our everyday lives. It will be the dawn of a new day when humankind takes for granted that we are all innately intuitive and finds ways to do more than spin or brighten lights at tourist sites.
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