The Emergent Brain

Connecting dots for a global brain.

Reading brainwaves

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Every since I tried the game BrainBall at Sweden’s Expo 2000 pavilion I got hooked with products measuring and reading brainwaves via EEG to produce different tasks. In the given example, two players facing opposing sides of a long table get hooked to a headband containing three electrodes that measure who is more relaxed. A ball in the middle of the table moves towards the person more stressed and the aim of the game is to push the ball completely to the opponent’s end.

While there are playful variants that base their technology on EEG – Mindflex is the most promising mainstream approach so far even though it does not actually use EEG and thus seems useless – recent times have seen serious progress in reading human minds solely by measuring brain waves. Scientific American has a piece on recent developments in reading the mind:

“The commercial products, however, cannot be so invasive. These companies use an electroencephalography cap (or EEG) that is placed on top of your head, and reads your overall brain state. Here the results are fairly crude. We can detect if one is calm, angry, excited or distracted, and we can manipulate those brain states to activate switches, like move a ball forward and back. But if we want to go beyond any binary on/off activation, however, we need to get deeper into the brain.”

The author Christie Nicholson is right in that getting deeper into the brain leads to astonishing results, such as reading paralyzed patients’  word chart choices, but one should not underestimate the power of simple headsets reading your state of mind and allowing you to control objects in easy ways. All said, Tan Le demonstrated a headset in a recent TED Talk that is capable of doing just this:

“Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.”

Watch the video here or below:

The future is closer than we think indeed!


Written by emergentbrain

21/09/2010 at 12:45

Schell on a world full with experience points

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Via G4TV:

“Games are invading the real world — and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning, says Jesse Schell. At the DICE Summit, he makes a startling prediction: a future where 1-ups and experience points break “out of the box” and into every part of our daily lives.”

The last 10 minutes, Schell describes a not-so-distant future where game design and level-ups are driving collective behavior.

Watch the video here.

Recommended follow-up:

More information on Lee Sheldon’s MMO grading system can be found here;
more information on the Ford Fusion Hybrid Smart Gauge in this pdf.

Written by emergentbrain

20/09/2010 at 23:10

Christakis on predictions through social networks

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On the “collective existence of emotions” and other collective states of mind.

Via TED Talks:

“After mapping humans’ intricate social networks, Nicholas Christakis and colleague James Fowler began investigating how this information could better our lives. Now, he reveals his hot-off-the-press findings: These networks can be used to detect epidemics earlier than ever, from the spread of innovative ideas to risky behaviors to viruses (like H1N1).”

You might also want to check out his earlier TED appearance.

Watch the video here or below:

Written by emergentbrain

20/09/2010 at 14:40

Barabási on predictability of a complex system

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Via Simoleon Sense:

Authors@Google: Albert László Barabási

“In BURSTS (April 2010), Barabasi, Director of the Center for Network Science at Northeastern University, shatters one of the most fundamental assumptions in modern science and technology regarding human behavior. Barabasi argues that, rather than being random, humans actually act in predictable patterns. We go along for long periods of quiet routine followed suddenly by loud bursts of activity. Barabasi demonstrates that these breaks in routine, or “bursts,” are present in all aspects of our existence— in the way we write emails, spend our money, manage our health, form ideas. Barabasi has even found “burstiness” in our webpage clicking activity and the online news cycle.”

Watch the video here or below:

Written by emergentbrain

20/09/2010 at 13:12

Posted in Collective Systems

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Why it is time to get started!

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Via The Future Buzz:

“If you are simply “working and waiting” you don’t understand the difference between living life and not.  Your time is ticking away and you’re squandering it.  If you have a side project you want to be your main project, you need a roadmap to bring it to reality.  “Working and waiting” is silly and without some sort of path to get there you’ll never achieve it.  Funds and jobs available?  Please, they are available right now to those brave enough to ask for them.  A chance to change the establishment?  Real change is a gradual process which happens bit by bit – if you want to change something, chip at it daily instead of waiting for some dramatic gesture that will be fast forgotten.  Those who act today, and act consistently will make change.  If you’re waiting you don’t deserve to achieve results.”

Click here to read: Don’t Make Excuses For Your Generation, Take Personal Accountability

Written by emergentbrain

20/09/2010 at 13:12