Student Communicates with Computer with His Mind, Not His Mouth

For Arnav Kapur, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, why would you want to pick up your phone and call for a pizza when you can just have your mind telepathically communicate your order via the Internet without speaking a word or touching a keypad?

Kapur, who works at MIT’s famed Media Lab, has created a device that does just that. Interviewed as part of a story on the Media Lab broadcast on the CBS news program 60 Minutes, Kapur demonstrated his headset-type device that picks up the electrical signals transmitted by the brain that form the basis of speech. But, before having to say a word, those electrical signals are transmitted to a computer that can then respond as instructed.

During his interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley, Kapur demonstrated the sophisticated capabilities of the device by silently thinking “what is 45,689 divided by 67?” The headset picked up the electrical signals generated by Kapur’s brain and transmitted that “question” to the attached computer, which then computed the correct answer and transmitted vibrations back through the device that would resonate the correct answer in his inner ear. (The answer is 681.925!)

Toward the end of the interview, Kapur even used the device to order pizza for the 60 Minutes crew. And all without saying a word!

See the 60 Minutes video on MIT’s Media Lab, including Kapur’s mind reading device in action.

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