Patently Apple - "Is Samsung's Brainwave Tablet Realistic or just a PR Ruse?"

Patent Bolt was first to break the news that Samsung had filed for a patent relating to technology surrounding a brain computer interface back in November 2012. The patent described neural activity being tracked on a neural activity detecting device. Preferably, the neural activity tracked includes EEG, EOG, and EMG activity.” The idea is tap into concentration patterns that would be able to respond to the users mental commands to “open file”, “close file”, “copy file”, “clicking”, “paste”, “delete”, “space”, or “inputting characteristics.” Samsung is now going beyond the patent phase in the hopes of creating a new modality for communicating with future tablets and the MIT Technology Review has posted a report on the topic today.

“In collaboration with Roozbeh Jafari, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas, Samsung researchers are testing how people can use their thoughts to launch an application, select a contact, select a song from a playlist, or power up or down” a future Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone. While Samsung has no immediate plans to offer a brain-controlled phone, the early-stage research, which involves a cap studded with EEG-monitoring electrodes, shows how a brain-computer interface could help people with mobility issues complete tasks that would otherwise be impossible.

Finding new ways to interact with mobile devices has driven the project, says Insoo Kim, Samsung’s lead researcher. ‘Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,’ says Kim. ‘Adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.'”

On one hand Samsung’s project is supposedly designed to assist those with mobility issues. If proven to be true in the long haul, we would certainly applaud them for their altruism. However, because Samsung’s researcher guided the MIT interviewer to cross over to the research being done for a future smartphone or tablet, actually pushed the interview into Samsung’s marketing and propaganda machinery. This was likely the true reasoning behind getting the MIT Technology Review to cover their staged show and tell research project in the first place.

Realistically, their research isn’t anything new at all and in fact it touches on copying earlier work done by others that we covered back in 2011. Back then we covered the presentation put on by Tan Le, the co-founder and president of Emotiv Systems. Samsung isn’t alone in trying to tap into this next dimension of device control as we posted a Sony patent application in October 2012 spelling out the very same goals for a gaming system.

The difference however, is that Samsung is trying to “sound innovative” in the mobile space to help counter Apple’s real innovations that kick started the true smartphone revolution in 2007. Samsung’s marketing team is trying to get the public to at least perceive Samsung as being innovative so that they could build a new mystique around their brand. Yet until Samsung actually delivers such a product, a tablet controlled by your brain, it’s just a PR ruse and typical Samsung poppycock.

MIT Technology Review

Courtesy of Patently Apple.