One Canadian company has stepped into the future a little faster than the rest of us.
In the November 14 issue of Time, an employee at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is described as completing a training drill, opening and closing valves via computer -- using only the power of his mind to do so.
The technology that the electricity generation company has put into place is called BodyWave, a smartphone-sized device that picks up -- coincidentally -- the electrical activity generated when various brain waves occur. Worn against the skin and attached to a computer via USB, its purpose is to make the wearer aware of his or her own brain activity, specifically the point at which the brain is primed to concentrate. When a particular pattern of brain waves occurs, the computer can execute the task for which the program is set.
Created by North Carolina-based inventor Peter Freer of Freer Logic, the BodyWave technology has gained notice for being one of the first applications to put EEG activity to practical use. Noted as a potential aid in keeping drivers from drifting off to sleep or helping athletes find their 'power' moments, this ability to find the peak of concentration has any number of uses. Concentration has been shown to improve one's life in a number of ways -- as noted by author Michael W. Taft, benefits include success at work, a better memory, better sex and an enhanced sense of meaning in life. In addition to OPG, BodyWave is getting tested in training programs by NASA for supersonic jet pilots and NASCAR for pit crews.
Its most commonplace use, however, is BodyWave's ability to help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Freer formed a company called Play Attention to put this technology to work, designing games and activities that help children see when they're focusing and when they are not -- the games literally will not work unless they put their minds to it. It also is geared toward adults who wants to participate in 'brain training' games to assist with concentration and even memory.