Looking at a bunch of recently published patents by Microsoft, we can assume how closer we have come to achieve mind-control systems in future where we use our thoughts to interact with the device. Microsoft has published a series of patents that explore how neurological activity could be used to control a computer.
In the patents, spotted by MSPoweruser, the company talks about using the mind as the primary control device for a computer system. It discusses mainly about using neurological data,
- To change the state of an application, or to perform a specific action.
- To generate a continuous motion control and then associate it with a continuous user interface control
- To modify the state of a computing device or application, such as modifying the application mode, more suitable for the user’s current state.
- To modify the user interface based on a user’s brain activity and gaze.
One of the above patents titled ‘CHANGING AN APPLICATION STATE USING NEUROLOGICAL DATA’ suggests users could use your neurological activity as an analog control for a PC, such as controlling the volume of the PC or moving a mouse. Another patent titled ‘CONTINUOUS MOTION CONTROLS OPERABLE USING NEUROLOGICAL DATA’ focuses on using machine learning to switch between multiple device modes (for instance, a tablet mode or brain control mode) based on the user’s brain activity, while the patent titled ‘MODIFYING A USER INTERFACE BASED UPON A USER’S BRAIN ACTIVITY AND GAZE’ discusses how an app could automatically adjust its UI depending on the user’s thoughts.
As noted by MSpoweruser, the patents were filed in May 2017 and published a few days ago. It is not known if Microsoft intends to use these ideas as assistive technology or if this is something they intend for everyone, but this does give us a taste of the future where hands-free control no longer means voice only.