Controlling the world around you with your thoughts is no longer just the stuff of science fiction; it’s here. Or at least well on its way with the rollout of NexStem headset. This device reads the brain’s electroencephalography (EEG) signals and enables the wearer to use these bio-signals to control devices and much more. NexStem is making these devices available to the public at an opening retail price of $800. (Initial shipments are scheduled to start “next month” according to the company website, but no date is specified.)
How does it work? Using brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, strategically positioned EEG electrodes pick up signals emitting from the brain’s activity. NexStem’s software then does real-time analysis of the data, mapping and processing the information for use in a host of different and ever-growing applications. This Wisdom-SDK software allows developers to create machine learning algorithms that can take this tech in any number of directions.
Mind connections to our favorite devices are inevitable. Why use your voice to tell Alexa or Siri to execute commands in your smart home when you can just think about turning on the lights or adjusting the temperature to make them happen? Mental health applications are another area in which the headset could be employed; the brain activity registered by EEG signals can be used to identify and diagnose a range of issues, from serious neurological disorders such as autism to common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
While mind-controlled smart prosthetics have been using EEG signals for a few years now, the machine learning aspect of NexStem’s software could represent a leap forward in human-machine interfaces. It seems as if highly dexterous robotic arms, hands, legs, and feet will be realities in the not-too-distant future. But the most innovative application for this technology may be with direct connections to virtual worlds. Instead of controllers, thoughts could very well be the way we navigate the metaverse in the future. Linking one’s mind directly to the Internet and the metaverse is sure to offer virtual experiences that were once only imagined in sci-fi fiction.
On the horizon, NexStem is developing more-advanced algorithms that will branch out from sole reliance on EEG signals. The variety of useful signaling that comes from the human body includes eye movement, heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, muscle movements, and oxygen saturation. Some, or all, of these bio-signals could be used to interface with technology and take human thought into a wide range of new realms.