Can the Mind Control the Home?

A new study in Austria allows participants to translate brain signals into smart-home commands.


If you thought your home setup was cool, wait until you get a load of this. A medical engineering company in Austria is working on home control that uses your mind instead of a standard touchpad. Try to do that with an iPad!

According to New Scientist, G.Tec of Schiedlberg is currently testing this type of technology. The idea is to give disabled people control over their surroundings. Using mind control, participants can open and close doors, control lights and thermostats, and even publish Twitter posts.

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The system takes brain signals and translates them into commands, or in the case of the study, navigation through the game “Second Life.” To activate commands, a user has to focus on icons on a screen. For instance, if one handles “Lights On,” the user will focus on that icon. The system then works with electroencephalograph (EEG) caps to pick up brain signals also known as P300.

Although it’s part of a larger pan-European project called Smart Homes for All, this is actually the first time that brain-computer interface (BCI) technology has been used in a “smart home” setting.

Right now, the company is working on boosting the system’s reliability, as well as functionality. Apparently, more functions create a stronger P300 response and a better overall system.

Later this month, G.Tec CEO Guenter Edlinger plans to present the system at the Human and Computer Interaction International conference in Orlando, Florida.


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