A computer interface that takes a load off your mind

May 14, 2012 | Source: Technology Review

A user tries the Brainput system (credit: Erin Treacy Solovey)

Postdoctoral MIT researcher Erin Treacy Solovey and her team have designed Brainput, a system using a headband that recognizes when a person’s workload is excessive and automatically modifies a computer interface to make it easier.

The researchers used a lightweight, portable brain monitoring technology called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which senses brain activitythrough the skull (no electrodes neeed).

Analysis of the brain scan data was then fed into a system that adjusted the user’s workload at those times.

Solovey suggests that such a system could potentially be used to help drivers, pilots, and supervisors of unmanned aerial vehicles. She says future work will investigate other cognitive states that can be reliably measured using fNIRS.