When the brain and baseball cap are one

A prototype hat is developed to transmit brain signals and monitor patterns to aid everyday life.

Mike Yamamoto Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.
Mike Yamamoto

It may look like one of those iPod hats or something worse, but this baseball cap is more sophisticated--in its technology, if not fashion sense.

The cap is designed to analyze the brain's electroencephalogram (EEG) waves, determining whether you're too fatigued to drive safely. It is just one use for a device developed by researchers at various Taiwan universities and the University of California at San Diego, who hope to expand the technology for applications in myrid other facets of everyday life.

There are other devices with similarly ambitious goals, but many of them require direct contact with the scalp, often needing constant application of gels to improve the conductivity of brain signals. The cap device aims to avoid that inconvenience in a more discreet and portable device, unlike more elaborate systems developed for 3D game equipment.

However, this latest version still requires "five embedded dry electrodes on the wearer's forehead and one electrode behind the left ear," according to PhysOrg, which transmit signals through a Bluetooth connection so they can be analyzed with a dual-core processor in real time. In any case, if gaming becomes one of its eventual uses, it will definitely be preferable to something like Toshiba's 3D helmet.