Moving Objects With Your Mind at TEDxAsheville 2012
TEDxAsheville 2012 presenter Avi Goldberg Explores the EDGE of Human Limitation:
Since the days of sorcerers, gods and witches, the human species has been fascinated with the idea of moving objects with their minds. We do it everyday with our own bodies to breathe, move our arms and legs but the deeper question is whether we can track those sub-conscious brainwaves being sent and use them to move objects outside of ourselves.
TEDxAsheville speaker Avi Goldberg has discovered a way to do exactly that, by using electroencephalography (EEG), which records electrical activity along the scalp and has long been used as a research tool in neuroscience and cognitive psychology to diagnose epilepsy, comas and brain death. A Computer Science major at UNC Asheville, Goldberg is a software developer who is fascinated with super computing, artificial intelligence, trans-humanism and futurism. Wearing only a single sensor EEG, he has discovered a way to capture electrical activity from the brain and use it to control the volume on his computer—simply by concentrating. Spooooky.
“I had never heard of consumer-level EEG products until a friend of mine came across one on the Internet and asked if I could hook it up to his music equipment to be able to control it with his mind,” said Goldberg. “We ordered it and I figured it out pretty quickly.”
After playing around on their electronic music equipment, Goldberg went on to modify open-source software to allow him to connect the EEG to his laptop. He claims it’s not as difficult as most people think it is and that’s what he really wants people to walk away understanding.
“Most people don’t realize that you can buy one of these things for $100 and with only a basic knowledge of programming and technology, you can do it too,” Goldberg matter-of-factly claims.
After presenting his research at several undergraduate symposiums and before several classes at UNCA, Goldberg continues to innovate his unique software that he hopes all will eventually be able to use for more than simply volume control. He envisions a world where it will be used as a practical way to interfacing with computers, allowing people to easily control their electronics using mind power.
“I definitely see it as a matter of making the world a better place,” said Goldberg. “There is a lot of potential to really hone this and move forward in innovating the way we interact with technology. It all depends on how we choose to use it.”