This EEG headset can tell what music your brain likes
Measuring brain waves is getting easier. An Imec headset could improve your memory, change video games while you play, or give you an attitude adjustment.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
If you've seen electroencephalogram (EEG) technology, it probably had something to do with scientists researching brain waves by wiring a bunch of electrodes to somebody's skull. Now European researchers have an easier approach they think will break the technology out of the lab.
At the CES 2018 tech show, a Belgian technology center called Imec is showing off a much simpler EEG headset that'll gauge your emotions. It can help with therapy but also tackle other things, like changing your video game as you play, improving memory when you're learning, matching
to your mood or even adjusting your mood by changing your music.
"With the integration of music playback, the system can not only measure, but also influence the emotions of the person that is wearing the headset," Imec said. The system uses artificial intelligence technology to instantly identify the wearer's emotional state.
Emotions are increasingly quantified in the digital era. Microsoft's face recognition technology can assess people's feelings, analytics tools can gauge the sentiment that Twitter and Facebook users have toward products, and voice assessment software can route you to different customer service reps depending on whether you're relaxed or livid. It may sound kind of creepy, but it's the sort of thing we do unconsciously all the time when interacting with our fellow humans.
Imec got its start as a consortium to blaze trails in next-generation microprocessor manufacturing, and that's still a core activity at the center in Leuven, Belgium. It's diversified into other areas, though, including health technology.