Emotiv Insight

The world's first commercial brain-to-computer interface is getting an upgrade.

Emotiv Insight

The Emotiv Insight follows the game-changing Emotiv EPOC, the original off-the-shelf neuroheadset, and drastically improves on it.

Emotiv Insight

Both were developed by Emotiv, a tech and development company run by Vietnamese-Austrian entrepreneur Tan Le.

Above: the Emotiv EPOC (left) and new Emotiv Insight (right) side by side

Emotiv Insight

The redesigned headset was launched on Kickstarter, where backers can pick one up for $199. The Insight can be used to track brain activity in real-time and measure mental health, but Emotiv promises the applications are near endless.

Emotiv Insight

In the promotional video, subjects use the headset to do everything from propel and operate an electric wheelchair to making music, all powered by their thoughts alone.

Emotiv Insight

The Insight features a dramatic, more streamlined design. The organic lines of the new model greatly improve on the clunkier EPOC.

Emotiv Insight

The Insight integrates a five-channel sensor setup that detects and registers electroencephalography (EEG) data. These sensors target key points of the cerebral cortex, and in turn, translates the EEG in meaningful ways. More pro-actively, the Insight can generate brainwaves that power the product's multiple applications.

Emotiv Insight

Words can only go so far. While the exact applications for the Insight might be vague, the community seems to love it. The project's Kickstarter has earned well over a $1 million in funding, with still more than a week to go.

Co.Design

This Mind-Reading Headset Gives You The Power Of The Force

Emotiv's new-and-improved headset will give users the "power" of mind control, or something close to it.

Five years ago, Vietnamese-Australian inventor and Emotiv CEO Tan Le released the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset, what was billed as the world’s first commercial brain-computer interface. The product, which still sells for $300, proved to be a hit, making it clear that the public craved this new kind of wearable technology.

Now, Le and Emotiv are back with an entirely revamped headset that features a full redesign and update of the original EPOC. The Emotiv Insight, they promise, not only bridges the electro-communicational gap between one’s brain and computer, but also allows users to track their brain activity in real-time and even monitor their mental health. The team has set up a Kickstarter campaign ahead of the project’s 2014 release, and the response couldn’t have been more viral. With two weeks left in its Kickstarter run, nearly 3,300 backers have pledged over $1 million in support.

The enthusiastic reaction is only surprising if you don’t already know what the Emotiv headsets can do. The new model is a multi-channel device that gives the wearer Jedi-like mind powers, and who doesn’t want to be a Jedi? As Le points out in the Kickstarter video, users can wield the Emotive Insight for very creative ends that to the outside observer might seem like magic.

But how does it work? The Insight sports a new five-channel sensor setup--a significant improvement over the EPOC--that picks up electroencephalography (EEG) data. The headset’s individual sensors target key junctions of the cerebral cortex and translates the EEG they detect into meaningful ways, which the project text explains can be used to “optimize” a user’s cognitive performance. By understanding and breaking down brain activity in this manner, the Insight can also generate brainwaves that power the product's multiple applications.

Just a handful of these are illustrated in the Kickstarter video: A child outfitted with the new headset is seen conjuring up a three-dimensional design for a toy on the computer screen before him, hands free. Another volunteer holds a modified electric helicopter--synced to the headset--in the palm in his hand and watches with amazement as it rises into the air, spurred only by his mental command. In yet another test case, a handicapped man creates the soundtrack that scores the video just using the power of his thought.

Still, these choice examples aside, the exact applications of the system are vague. That’s intentional because, as Le explains, the Insight is a platform that allows you, the user, to develop newer and unexpected uses for the technology. The Emotiv team plans to offer up API and SDK for developers wanting to play around with the technology; doing so, Le says, will “make it possible for anyone to take this innovation and create new applications with the technology.”

Support the Kickstarter now, and you’ll be able to pre-order your own headset at a discounted rate of $200.

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