Startup to launch $199 brainwave computer controller in 2013

Interaxon's headset, called Muse, lets people use mind control to run their computers -- at least for some basic tasks like playing some games and bringing emotion to e-mail.

Loic Le Meur wears InteraXon's brainwave-operated computer controller.
LeWeb conference founder Loic Le Meur wears InteraXon's brainwave-operated computer controller. Stephen Shankland/CNET

PARIS -- Startup Interaxon today announced it'll ship a $199 headset called the Muse next spring that will let people use their brainwaves to directly control videogames and other computing operations.

Interaxon Chief Executive Ariel Garten announced the Muse at the LeWeb conference here, and she showed off one application she thinks direct brainwave input will help people: infusing e-mails with emotion.

"This is the first though-controlled device that's stylish and easy to wear," Garten said of the Muse.

InteraXon CEO Ariel Garten wearing Muse, the company's brainwave-operated computer controller.
InteraXon CEO Ariel Garten wearing Muse, the company's brainwave-operated computer controller. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Using LeWeb founder Loic Le Meur as a guinea pig, she showed an application she called Emotype that changes fonts according to the mood of the writer -- a large swooping typeface to show when a writer is "more relaxed and open," and a small typeface to indicate the writer is "very focused and closely engaged," Garten said.

The Bluetooth-connected device perches on a person's head like glasses, with a rim traversing the wearer's forehead. It has four electroencephalography sensors and communicates with a computer via a Bluetooth connection, she said. It'll be available over Indiegogo.

It'll come with its own games and with a software developer kit that will let others write their own software.

"We invite everyone to help unlock the potential of the technology alongside us," she said.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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