Lately, research concerning the brain and our thoughts has increased dramatically. Thanks to technology, scientists now have new tools and methods to monitor the brain and what goes on inside it. Much of the new research involves observing brain patterns and electrical activity that takes place due to certain events. These events might be reactions to pictures or to activity due to movement. Most of the studies involve using EEGs (electroencephalographs). Using these devices, scientists and researchers have a reliable way of receiving and detecting patterns related to certain events or emotions. With this information research into the applications of brain activities has begun.
The medical field can benefit greatly from EEGs. The technology allows them to further investigate sleeping and mental disorders, and to work on the design of prosthetic limbs controlled from the brain. In addition, EEGs provide a unique option for human-computer interaction. Using information from brain activities, engineers can now receive input from people's emotional responses in real time. A few of the most common of these inputs for computer software include motor imagery; steady-state, visually evoked potentials; and very common signals known as P300s. Many applications are beginning to emerge from this technology. One of the most recent integrates thought processing and 3D printing.
The application comes from George Laskowsky, chief technical officer of Thinker Thing. Located in Chile, Thinker Thing is a startup company focused on the design of software to print objects using a person's brain activities. The software, currently known as Emotional Evolutionary Design (EED), allows users to enter a process that will guide them through creating an object. The process is purely based on their emotional responses to changes being made to geometrical shapes. The software monitors brain activities using an EEG device called the Emotiv EPOC headset. Using 14 sensors placed along the scalp, shapes are chosen and put together based on excitement and boredom generated in the brain. The idea of using evolving shapes to build an object comes from the notion that people are naturally better at critiquing the designs of others than coming up with new designs of their own.
The first people who will get to try out the new system, other than the designers, will be school children. They will be participating in the company's Monster Dreamer Project. Using the software and headsets, the children will sit in front of computers and be guided through a process that will let them create their own monster character without moving a limb.