Can We Already Stop Typing And Touching?

Through neurotechnology, we will see an ever-increasing number of devices controlled by thought, from toasters to game controllers and ultimately, to more complex systems such as our computers and the tools we use. In the process, our hands will become less relevant in manipulating data and working with technology. This won’t just impact our convenience, but will also cause a fundamental shift in how we design the tools which serve us. Artificial intelligence will only serve to increase the scope of what we can do.

Getting Rid of Buttons

Neurotechnology innovator Neurogress plans to begin extending neurocontrolled devices to the Internet Of Things (a term used to refer to the vast majority of devices that are accessible via the internet) in the very near future. This is projected to be a $1.4 trillion industry by 2020.

Neurogress’ vision is that the brain will become the primary controller for a whole ecosystem of devices and tools; devices that today rely on a clunky touch / button / dial interface. Imagine driving home from work and mentally activating your lights and thermostat. When you walk through the door, you may decide to switch on some relaxing music. None of this will require any physical interaction with a device.

Neurogress sees this transition as a major focus of their approach to innovation. In their words: “The ability to change the environment by the power of thought removes the additional barriers and pseudointerfaces that mankind has created over the years to control devices.”

The Implications for Ergonomics

But is this shift to thought-controlled devices just a neat way to avoid getting cookie crumbs on our phone screens or is there more to it than the convenience of taking our food-eatin’ fingers out of the equation? I think there’s more to it.

Think of your typical game controller and how it’s configured. It’s just one example of how we make our interfaces with ten fingers in mind. Once you eliminate the pinky (which let’s face it, is pretty but basically useless for doing stuff) your standard human can activate about eight things at once.

What happens when the brain becomes the means by which we manipulate things? As our minds become accustomed to this, there may be amazing implications for how much we can do.

Bringing AI into That Equation

AI is adding to the possibilities. Neurogress is working on software that harnesses increasing capabilities of AI to learn and adapt to our brain signals. As they develop this technology, we’re learning that with a computer assist, our brains can send far more unique signals. We may reach a point where it becomes second nature to manipulate data or even objects in intricate ways that our clunky, meaty fingers had no chance of achieving.

In this way, tools and toys may evolve to become more complex and powerful as we shed the need to physically interact with them.

Neurotechnology innovation is changing how we interact with the world and how we get stuff done.

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