Bad news for telepaths: Samsung’s working on a brain-controlled tablet for everyone

braintabletScience fiction is pretty darn good at predicting the tech of our future. We’ve gotten used to carrying around objects that are, for all intents and purposes, identical to what the crew of the Enterprise used in Star Trek: The Next Generation just 25 years ago. Additionally, the advent of Siri and other voice activated assistants in our phones meant that we can use our phones without touching them beyond an initial button press. Now comes another technological advancement that seems as if it should only exist in pulp fictions: The tablet that you can control with your mind.

There are already prototypes of this uncanny device in existence, as the result of research carried out by Samsung. The modified Galaxy tablets are able to launch applications based upon the user simply concentrating on a blinking icon – and, even more impressively, it’s technology that appears to actually work.

Samsung lead researcher Insoo Kim explained that thought control was merely the next step in an increasing move away from traditional – that is, tactile – control of such devices. “Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,” he told MIT Technology, noting that “adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.”

The system doesn’t require the user to have X-Men-style super powers; instead, the user wears a specially-created headcap covered in EEG-monitoring electrodes that measure the brain’s activity during usage. The current incarnation of the caps will have to be streamlined before the system is available for home use, as it uses “wet contact electrodes” – which require the user to apply liquid to their head before wearing – in order to work.

In tests, the system has allowed users to activate different applications on the modified Galaxies, including a music application that allows them to select, play, and pause specific tracks. According to Kim, during the tests, users were able to make one selection every five seconds with an accuracy rate of 80 to 95 percent – something that becomes even more impressive when you remember that they’re making these selections just by thinking really hard about it.

The plan is, unsurprisingly, to look into uses this system could have for those with physical disabilities or mobility issues. Even with the system ways away from being widely available, it’s nonetheless still staggering to think about the potential implications in what such technology could mean for people in the future… especially the germaphobes or perpetually lazy.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.

How to keep a PS4 in your pocket with the PlayStation Mobile app

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can browse profiles, trophies, and other content directly on your mobile device.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.