At the CeBIT digital IT and telecommunications trade show in Germany earlier this week, Austrian company G.tec showed off its mind-reading system by letting attendees paint digital artworks with their thoughts alone. The magic begins once you put on the funky-looking cap you see in the image above – it might look like something out of an obscure sci-fi flick, but it has the power to measure your brain activity and makes brainpainting possible.
G.tec’s mind-reading technology has been around for a while. This YouTube video of a university student using the system to draw on paper was uploaded in 2011 – but the intendiX drawing program is fairly new. According to G.tec sales director Markus Brucknet, the idea to create a program for brainpainting came from an artist who was looking for a way his friend – another artist who was paralyzed in an accident – can draw again. To make it work, you have to control the intendiX via a matrix of icons on screen (pictured above). If you want to make a green circle with 50 percent opacity, for instance, first thing to do is to concentrate on the Trace 50 percent button and count the number of times it blinks. Then, do the same thing with the circle button, the arrow buttons to determine placement on the canvas, the size button of choice, and the color button. The system’s accompanying EEG can pick up on the brain signals a person makes while counting how many times an icon blinks. The data is then sent to the computer where brain activity-decoding software works on interpreting a person’s thoughts.
Pictured above is an example of a digital painting made by using G.tec’s technology. It’s far from being a masterpiece, but the point is that the system gives people who might never draw again via traditional means the power to create artwork on their own. With enough practice, one might be able to come up with pieces far more intricate than this. While G.tec’s technology was meant to be used by the disabled and paralyzed, you can get actually get your own system, if you wish. The bad news? The whole thing (which includes the fancy cap and g-tec’s brain-reading technology) costs a whopping $15,600 – so this isn’t something most individuals can get.
(Image credit: G.tec)