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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Top Eight Inventions That Will Blow (and Read) Your Mind in 2010

Two weeks ago, I went through several of Time’s Best Inventions of 2009. Well there’s a new list out there. It’s CNN Money’s “Next Little Thing 2010.” These are eight new technologies/inventions that are supposed to rock our world in 2010.  Though it’s significantly slimmer than Time’s list, it seems determined to outdo the inventions from that list in nearly every way.

For instance, two of the inventions I covered were “Mind Tweets” and video games you control with only your body.  *YAWN!*  Try this on for size: playing games with your mind.

Introducing the “Epoc” headset by Emotiv.

Epoc Headset from EmotivFor some people, like my sister, the hardest part about video games is remembering all the controls and complex button combinations, especially with the controllers on the market these days. This is how “button-mashers” are born. But what if, instead of having to remember the four-step-button-pressing-process necessary to do a power move, you could just think about the power move, and it would be done? If that concept appeals to you, then I think the Epoc is right up your alley.

The headset doesn’t read your thoughts so much as it does remember where your brain is active when you think certain things. Writer Chris Taylor puts it this way:

I calibrated the Epoc by thinking of commands… when the program asked for them: move left, move right, rise, drop, stop. For disappear, I thought of Lewis Carroll’s vanishing kitty. The Epoc… can remember which areas of my brain lit up while I did that.

The headset will go for $299 and is scheduled to be released in early 2010 (or later this month, according to Emotiv’s Wikipedia page). It will work with Windows PCs. It’s unclear just how many games–and yes, as of now, this radical little device is intended only as a gaming peripheral–will be available for use with the Epoc. Needless to say, their are a whole lot of developers interested in building software to work with it. There’s even talk of hooking it up to control wheel chairs and other such devices. Now that’s practical.

The Epoc has a two-axis gyro for measuring head movement. You can also trigger commands with facial expressions and emotions. Can you tell that this excites me? I think my palms are sweating a little bit.

But the Epoc isn’t the only way that CNN Money’s list outdoes Time’s, in my opinion.  Time’s list featured collapsible speakers. Well how about invisible speakers?

Emo Labs took home a $500,000 dollar prize from the DEMOfall technology conference last September for these babies. The speakers are, essentially, a sheet of clear plastic. How does it work? I still don’t have the faintest idea. And frankly, as cool as the idea is, I couldn’t see the point. So I looked into it. I found this video, which gives a much better idea of how this technology can be used. (The speakers literally go over the screen!)

And there’s more on the list, from the practical (cheaper cancer scans) to the absurd (the K9 Storm Intruder, a bulletproof dog vest with a wireless camera, speakers and a microphone built in, so the handler can see what the dog sees and issue commands through the audio system).

So check out all eight items on CNN Money’s list, and then check back here at the Why Didn’t I Think of That Blog, as we continue our month-long Inventions Extravaganza.

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