Aug 29, 2010

Intel Making Computers That Will Read Your Mind

Those if you with dirty minds should probably open the private browsing window first.

While Intel is still concentrating on making chips that'll continue to push the performance limits of our desktops and laptops, there are researchers at the chip company looking at the next step ahead – reading our minds.

Dean Pomerleau, a senior researcher at Intel Laboratories, is part of a team developing a computer that's able to 'read' the human brain of what word it is thinking about.

"The computer uses a form of 20 questions to narrow down what the word is," Pomerleau explained to the Telegraph. "So a noun with a physical property such as spade, which you dig with, produces activity in the motor cortex of the brain, as this is the area that controls physical movements. A food related word like apple, however, produces activity in those parts of the brain related to hunger. So the computer can infer attributes to each word being thought about and this lets the computer zero down on what the word is pretty quickly."

Intel hopes that this will eventually lead to people being able to write emails and perform web searches just by thinking.

While we're still lusting after the best laser mice and mechanical keyboards, Intel's CTO Justin Ratner said, "Mind reading is the ultimate user interface. There will be concerns about privacy with this sort of thing and we will have to overcome them. What is clear though is that humans are not restricted any more to just using keyboards and mice."

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