Neural Interface Could Help Apple ‘Think Different’ about Its OS Future

What if you could control your computer with just the power of your thoughts? It’s not science fiction anymore, and this new real interface is already here courtesy of Amazon and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

In this follow up to my article back in June on alternate computing interfaces of the future — where I discussed three possible interfaces from voice and touch control to eye tracking technology — I opined the possibility of Apple taking its well-known approach to innovation and leading the way by creating a new operating system that utilizes one of those alternate computing interfaces, two of which it already uses today with Siri and iOS.

Now there’s a fourth new interface that’s debuted in the computing arena.

However, it would seem that Apple has been beaten by two of its major rivals, which have teamed up with each other in funding the start-up company behind this very futuristic interface.

I learned about the invention from a Facebook post last month by Wired magazine, which shared another post from CNBC (NBC News’ business oriented cable news channel) that caught my attention. The post only included a video with no corresponding article so I went on the web to search for the source and found the article written by Magdalena Petrova which talked about the new neural interface for controlling computers with a wearable device.

CNBC screen shot

Petrova began her article by stating, “Our mouse and keyboard could become a thing of the past.”

The wearable device, invented by CTRL-labs, a start-up in Manhattan, New York, is a wristband which works by tracking the electrical activity generated when a person thinks about moving. Aside from computers, it can control applications, robots, and artificial limbs.

Petrova writes, “An armband outfitted with a number of sensors detects the brain’s electrical activity and sends it to a computer. From there, algorithms decode it and use the signals to manipulate a machine. Users can then do things like scroll through text, turn a dial, or select items from a menu just by thinking about it.”

CTRL-labs envisions the technology will completely change the way we use our devices — from your smartphone and tablet to the computer that is built into the kiosk at an airport.

According to Petrova, “Later this year, CTRL-labs will release its technology to software developers.”

Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for Apple to adopt and incorporate neural input into its operating system as an alternate computing interface, helping it become the future of personal computing?

I can see the Apple ad already with “Think Different” 2.0 asking Mac users, “What if we thought different in the way you used your computer? What if you could control your Mac with just a thought? Don’t think about it, because that day is here. Introducing macOS…”

CTRL-labs co-founder, Thomas Reardon, who has a PhD in neuroscience (and also created the Internet Explorer web browser while at Microsoft), is quoted in the article as saying, “I have every faith in the world that this technology will come to dominate the way that we interact with machines. CTRL-labs may not be the company that pulls that off, but the technology will rewrite technology history.”

Apple, are you listening? Time to restart your engines and “Think Different” once again! Before Amazon or Alphabet (through Google) decide to do more than back the start-up venture or, worse, Microsoft takes the lead with this innovation.

keywords: #neuralinterface #neuralcontrol

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