XWave for iPhone lets you read your own mind

Jan 12, 2011 by Lin Edwards report
The XWave can sense and detect human brainwaves, interpret them and connect it to everyday technology.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new application for the iPhone, the XWave, lets you read your own mind via a headset clamped to your head and connected to the phone’s audio jack.

The plastic headband, which costs around $100, has a sensor that presses against the user’s forehead and communicates with a free XWave iPhone application that then shows your brain waves graphically on the iPhone screen. As you focus your mind on a task the graphics are changed — a ball may move higher for instance, or your state of relaxation may be indicated by changes in a pulsating color, which moves towards blue as you become more relaxed.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Brainwave detection is powered by an NeuroSky eSense dry sensor, which provides a brain-computer interface (BCI) to sense even faint electrical impulses in the brain and convert them to digital signals that are sent to the iPhone. Previous applications of the NeuroSky technology include computer games and toys. In XWave an algorithm is applied to the brain rhythms to convert them to graphical representations of attention and meditation values.

XWave enables you to manipulate a number of other iPhone graphical applications and objects in games using only your brain waves, providing your rating in attention or meditation is high enough. At present you cannot text or browse the web using XWave, but you can use the device to train your mind to relax and focus on command. The list of applications for the device is likely to grow rapidly.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

XWave, developed by PLX Devices, is meant to be used purely for entertainment, but the implications for the future are enormous, and may be particularly important for people who are disabled since they may be able to have much more control in their lives using their alone to control their phonse and potentially other applications. According to PLX, the headset device is also open for use with applications from other companies.

XWave iPhone app screen.

XWave is compatible with the , iPod Touch and iPad. Wireless versions are also available for WiFi and Bluetooth devices. The free XWave application is available for download via iTunes.

Explore further: Continental works on infrared for car multi-touch

More information: XWave - www.plxwave.com/

Related Stories

Apple says it is expanding iPhone features

Mar 17, 2009

(AP) -- Apple Inc. is updating its software for iPhones so that users can cut, copy and paste text - a basic computing feature that many people had lamented was missing from the gadget that seems to do everything.

NeuroSky lets gamers use their brains

Jun 19, 2010

NeuroSky wants gamers to start using their brains. The start-up that specializes in technology to measure brainwaves was at the Electronic Entertainment Expo here this week showing videogame titans how they ...

Control all your computers from one iPhone

Jan 21, 2009

I've gone on record defining the iPhone to really be a mobile computer that can also make cell phone calls. It uses OS X, the Macintosh operating system to run software such as productivity, game, Internet applications and ...

Recommended for you

Continental works on infrared for car multi-touch

Dec 23, 2014

Using infrared technology, gesture-control features might find their way into the "affordable" market segment. Automotive supplier Continental, with an eye on the future, is working on intelligent infrared ...

How will Google, Apple shake up car insurance industry?

Dec 22, 2014

Car insurance industry, meet potential disrupters Google and Apple. Currently, nearly all mainstream insurers that offer driver-monitoring programs use relatively expensive devices that plug into a portal under the dashboard. ...

Cyclist's helmet, Volvo car to communicate for safety

Dec 21, 2014

Volvo calls it "a life-saving wearable cycling tech concept." The car maker is referring to a connected car and helmet prototype that enables two-way communication between Volvo drivers and cyclists for proximity ...

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

Dec 21, 2014

California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles ...

User comments : 33

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

brianlmerritt
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
I love it!

How long before I can ditch the keyboard & mouse??
panorama
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2011
I love it!

How long before I can ditch the keyboard & mouse??

Your iPhone requires a keyboard and mouse? ;)
Bob_Kob
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2011
These 'mind control' devices seem very crude. Tantamount to just yelling to operate a device. Yell louder and a different program is loaded. What these need to do is understand our 'words' and not just the yells.
Paljor
1 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2011
They're not mind control devices! I wonder if you will be able to play games soley with your mind now...
gwrede
2 / 5 (4) Jan 12, 2011
Cool gadget. And according to the presenter, it proves blondes do have a brain.

With this kind of apps, I might actually consider buying the iPhone!
Moebius
2 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2011
There already exists a mind controlled headset device for a computer. I forget what it's called but it's available, it works and it can control a handful of single key functions with practice (lots) just using thought. I would think that this technology has not reached its full potential and controlling more than a handful of functions should be possible.
rgwalther
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
These 'mind control' devices seem very crude. Tantamount to just yelling to operate a device. Yell louder and a different program is loaded. What these need to do is understand our 'words' and not just the yells.


Analogous to Garrett Morris doing the PIP 'close captioning' by shouting on the early SNL?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
Cool gadget. And according to the presenter, it proves blondes do have a brain.


I'll believe it when I see a blond put one on and have something register...not one second sooner.

visual
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
For PC devices, OCZ NIA (Neural Impulse Actuator) was the first one to market, there may be a couple more by now.

Bob Kob, I really like your analogy. But it can be misleading if taken too literally.
Though it would be really cool to pick up actual "words" from our thoughts, for possibly the greatest text entry method ever, that's not necessary for all BCI applications.
Think about how we control our own body muscles - there are no "words" involved. BCI might let us control artificial or virtual objects in the same way, completely intuitively, as if they were part of our bodies, and thanks to the great plasticity of the human brain that may actually turn out easier to achieve than literal reading of words or sentences in our thoughts.
Granted, any significant success in that area will likely require the precision of invasive BCI implants, not possible with external sensors like these.
sr_villarreal
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
I don't know but, doesn't this exists already? I mean, how does Stephen Hawking speaks? I'm asking, I really have no idea but it seems similar...
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
I don't know about you guys, but I don't think I need an iphone to tell me what I'm thinking; my girlfriend already does that.

I don't trust this thing. I wonder if I wear my tin foil hat, could I prevent me from reading my mind? If that doesn't work, and I start thinking 'bad thoughts', can my iphone be programmed to automatically call 911? Oh, maybe DHS/NTSB can use something like this at airport screening sites!!

Of course I'm joking. The way the article is written just naturally leads to all kinds of Orwellian jokes.

I love Emo Phillips, the comedian, when he said something about the human mind being the most important part of the body, but then again, look who's telling you that!!
ruebi
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
I would really like to see some more advanced versions. It has to start somewhere though. Once people who use this are able to get their mind in a proper state and begin to fire specific impulses in different locations of the brain, we will see much more advanced applications of the brain/cpu interface. If all goes as I expect, before long we should be able to mimic outbound tcp/ip.
Skultch
5 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
This is great already!! Unless you are a Buddhist monk, we could all improve as emotional creatures by learning to know and control ourselves better.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
If all goes as I expect, before long we should be able to mimic outbound tcp/ip.


Oh, imagine the dangers:

1) You're out drunk and start thinking about an ex-girlfriend (despite your wife and 2.5 kids), and your phone sends her a booty text at the speed of thought. lol.

2) You're working at your desk and your boss pisses you off. You think to yourself "I should quit this job, and my boss is a ____". Your PC fires off a not-so-wel thought out email to everyone in the company. Oh no!

3) You're doing something stupid, like sleeping with an ugly girl as a result of beer-goggle-itis, and you think to yourself (while still drunk): Gee, wouldn't it be funny if I posted an update on my Facebook page so that all my friends and family knew what I was doing rigth now? lol. Oh even better.. you posted it on her wall too!!
Skultch
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
If all goes as I expect, before long we should be able to mimic outbound tcp/ip.


Oh, imagine the dangers:


Haha. :D

Seriously, though, even if there were "are you sure" prompts, my guess is that it's easier to hastily think yes than physically click yes. How easy would it be to detect that the brain is joking, I wonder?
pauljpease
5 / 5 (5) Jan 12, 2011
I'm (kind of) surprised there are no comments about some of the more interesting aspects of this technology. Everyone here seems to be focusing on the idea that you could control a computer with your brain. But a totally separate use of this technology is to improve your own brain/mind! It's called "biofeedback". By having an objective measurement of brain activity, which is graphically displayed on the screen, which your brain then perceives through your eyes, your brain is able to learn to alter its own state. This could be great for training in meditation. Many people don't practice meditation because they can't feel if its working or not. This would give you a number that tells you how well you're meditating. Imagine a world where people have better control of their own minds. Isn't that more important than how conveniently they can operate a computer?
Tylernol
5 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2011
PaulJPease, I couldn't agree more. I was about to post a very similar message.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2011
Okay, I'll stop kidding around and respond to Paulipease's last comment a bit more seriously.

They already have things that do what you are talking about. Electronic biofeedback isn't anything new, but I guess doing it on your smartphone with a dedicated piece of equipment is. Try to google the following and pick the first thing that comes up:

Biofeedback: Exciting and Empowering Process

There's a list of many different types of electronic biofeedback devices for many different applications listed in the chart in the middle of the page. I once dated a behavioral therapist who used some of these. I dated another girl who used a device that hooked up to her computer to help her with ADD problems, and her brother did too. Even a mood ring can be looked at as a simple method of improving your mental behavior with the aid of a tell-tale device.
Bohdi22
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
epoc headset was demo'ed in a TED talk by Tan Le in July this year priced at 299$...probably further along than the xwave. The xwave seems like it might take off faster though being phone specific and backed by apple.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2011
The near future is going to be so awesome. This is the kind of stuff we need if we want a fluid interface between ourselves and some awesome robots. I'm thinking Iron Man style, or even more crudely, the robot loader from Alien. With these advances, technology will start to seamlessly blend with us. The singularity approaches, take me!
jamesrm
5 / 5 (1) Jan 13, 2011
The Neurosky headset has been around for a few years, the only thing new is the App for pods, meh |-O

rgds
jms
Davery
not rated yet Jan 13, 2011
Combine this technology with X-box Kinect applications which can control robots remotely , and we start to get close to the movement of objects via the mind. Hopefully , with training, there may become technological ways of freeing severely disabled people back to full movement. Stephen Hawkings might be interested..
AlexT
5 / 5 (2) Jan 15, 2011
Look, if this actually worked or was useful to any degree, they wouldn't have to use busty blonds to deliver the message. It seems more or less like a tinker toy to me of no practical use. Any value of it used while meditating, is in your head - literally :)
MorituriMax
3 / 5 (2) Jan 15, 2011
What?! No Hypnotoad screen?
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2011
Wow. This is straight out of forbidden planet for 1:50 through 2:10 or so.

Within a decade or so, I guess we'll all be assimilated by the Borg...er...the "cloud".

Women already know what men are thinking about anyways, so I guess it doesn't matter too much...
Dr_Doe
not rated yet Jan 15, 2011
Emotive has been around for awhile and it's a lot more in-depth then this but it also cost more. There's people that are already using it for WoW or just to navigate their computer. This is a cool toy though and isn't that expensive.
jjoensuu
not rated yet Jan 16, 2011
Emotive Epoc does have a lot more sensors than the NeuroSky device described in this article and costs about $100 more. Both of them use dry sensors so they very similar in that aspect, although last time I checked there was no Emotiv application for iPhone.
jjoensuu
not rated yet Jan 16, 2011
sorry, correction on above: Emotive Epoc does not currently use dry sensors, although such have supposedly been in development for some time. Neurosky sensor(s) seem to be of the dry type.
Zoletta
not rated yet Jan 16, 2011
Three things: 1) This looks like a modern high-tech version of The Mood Ring 2) Would LOVE to put this on my dog 3) Can't wait until someone invents a Dream Recorder! If we could actually SEE the images inside our minds, and show them to others - WOW, I don't think any of us would have any friends left, and the divorce rate would skyrocket to 100%!
Decimatus
5 / 5 (1) Jan 16, 2011
Proves blondes do have brains? Or does it prove this product is a sham? :p

Au-Pu
1 / 5 (1) Jan 17, 2011
How long before someone develops a way to send instructions to your brain via this or similar devices?

Perhaps "Big Brother" is closer than we like to think??
gwrede
1 / 5 (1) Jan 19, 2011
How long before someone develops a way to send instructions to your brain via this or similar devices?
(This is besides the topic, and academic, at that.) Receiving instructions only needs an implant mini radio in your ear.

This has been easy to do for decades. But since nobody has done it, I guess it's not that useful, after all.

The hard part would be to send toughts. With a suitable sensor (20 years from now), and some hard training, one could learn to send messages. But it would be slower and much harder work than whispering into a microphone.

As to eavesdropping on peoples' thoughts, it is already easy to peek at someone's attitudes towards things they are shown, say, on screen. (EEG, MRI, etc., or a polygraph.)

But the Holy Grail, being able to listen in on arbitrary chains of thought, with verbatim accuracy, that simply will never happen! Folks learn words in different order, and that alone causes any attempt to read an unfamiliar person's thoughts to fail.
rgwalther
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2011
If you feel the need to read your own mind, it can only mean that you do not have one.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.