Tech, media firms invest in mind-reading
Brain-interface tech taking off in non-medical sectors
The number of US patents awarded for so-called neuro-technology interfaces has sky-rocketed in the past five years, with the majority being registered for non-medical applications, Reuters reported, citing findings from market-research firm SharpBrains.
The leading patent-holder in brain-interface tech is consumer research company Nielsen, according to SharpBrains, which presented the results of its research at the NeuroGaming conference in San Francisco.
SharpBrains expects brain-interface technologies to become part of everyday life in the coming years, now that development projects have extended beyond medical uses.
"Neuro-tech has gone well beyond medicine, with non-medical corporations, often under the radar, developing neuro-technologies to enhance work and life," said SharpBrains CEO Alvaro Fernandez.
Patent registrations for neuro-technology were between 300 and 400 a year until 2010, when 800 were lodged. In 2014, that figure was 2015.
Medical applications have long included using electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor brain lesions or altering brain activity to improve a patient's sight. Non-medical uses, which are driving the industry's growth, include brain-control of video games.
Nielsen's patents include methods to detect brain activity with an EEG and present it in a readable format, so a subject's thoughts can be "read" and used to develop new products. Microsoft holds patents for devices that will adjust the presentation of data, based on how much the end-user is paying attention to it.