CES 2020: NextMind’s Brain Tech Is Stunning, But What About Privacy?
Non-invasive neurotechnology is one of the tech world’s latest new frontiers. Leading the charge is NextMind, a start-up that’s created a device that allows wearers to control their digital lives by using nothing more than their thoughts.
The device picked up two CES awards at the start of the week (Best of Innovation in Augmented and Virtual Reality and Honoree status in Wearable Technologies), so we thought we’d go and see what all the fuss was about.
This technology breakthrough represents the next frontier of human-computer interaction and we are truly humbled to be here today introducing NextMind to the world. For those who have said it would never be possible with non-invasive technology to communicate intent and implement actions directly from our brain to the world around us, it’s time to believe. This is real, and the possibilities are truly endless.
The gadget itself is a small, rounded device that you can affix to a cap or headband. It reads the electrical neuron signals generated by your brain’s visual cortex and then feeds them all through a machine-learning algorithm to create a digital output.
We were fortunate enough to be able to test the device on the show floor. Once you understand the way you need to focus your mind on the action you want to perform, it is surprisingly easy to use. We were able to flick through TV challenges, enter a PIN code, and even play a basic game with the power of your mind.
There’s no denying that the tech is impressive; it’s easy to imagine a world in which brain-sensing wearables become increasingly essential to the way we interact with the world around us. Privacy fanatics, however, might be less impressed. If you already have concerns with devices like Amazon Alexa or 23andMe—which can “read” your body in some way—the idea that a device is capable of understanding your very thoughts is enough to make you go an hide in a cave for the rest of your life.
NextMind will start shipping developer kits in the first half of 2020. Let us know whether you’d consider using a device like this in the comments below.