These devices exist already. They tend to be fragile and can give you a headache after awhile. And people who are quads require someone else to put them on. But they work pretty well.
In order to keep the contacts at a low enough level that they are not physically harmful, they require very close connection, usually .(although not always) with a gel connection, so a hood, not a hat. Or a very lightweight “helmet.”
Don’t try building one of these at home, though–you can cause serious injury. If you are interested, join one of the existing research projects.
(This is usually called BCI, brain computer interface. Game companies, the military, assistive technology companies, and hazardous environment equipment companies are all interested.)
Emotiv is one of the main US companies. Theirs is unusual because it doesn’t require the gel.
I actually will be replicating an arduino toy hack that’s been around for years. (once I teach myself how to play with arduinos) But I haven’t decided what I want to apply it to.
UNIMPORTANT BACKSTORY: I’m not much of a maker type person, I have ideas but I don’t often build upon them. But now that I have a ‘smart’ home with some wireless dimmers, I thought this might be a neat little project. I can tell you the technology is very safe and headaches are MOST likely caused by the strain of ‘concentration’. My wife and I are both experienced at recognizing the noticable difference and controlling concentration. her, because it’s a technique neurologists teach to help migraine patients manage/control pain. And myself because a life of ADD makes a guy acutely aware of the different states of distracted/concentrated and practicing control of it is a necessary didactic lecture survival skill.
Design: so there’s a toy from 10 years back, the star wars force trainer. that actually measures EEG waves and transmits the delta waves value to a variable-speed fan levitating a ping pong ball. I’ve had it since it came out, it’s great, no gel required. It’s gimmicky and by no means is it perfectly accurate, but is it cool, hell yes. It has a sharp learning curve, and people easily question whether it works or is in fact just random, because its a toy, it isn’t designed with hoods or gel, I’m sure its inacurate, but it does work, it really is controllable. It’s amazing. Anyway,
I found an arduino hack that dumps the data to a computer instead. SO… once I figure out the arduino, perform the hack, figure out the data, I should be able to send it as a constantly updating variable to something like a lights brightness, or a volume level, or (this is my best idea) a fire-features throttle.
@JDRoberts, given your condition you probably have a lot more concept for something like this. It isn’t reliable or even controllable enough for any important application I can conceive, but as a cool project (or even just as a concentration trainer), it has value. What do you think?
One of the hottest areas of research is for prosthetic control, particularly being able to control a robot hand. That’s one where you really want mind control.
Also being able to control a wheelchair for someone with no hand function.
Not much interest for home automation because voice solves almost all the same problems much more conveniently than wearing the helmet. Dimming lights, turning on a faucet, changing TV channels, etc. can all be done with voice.
Most of the practical applications for able-bodied people have to do with remote control of a device. That’s where the military is interested. Essentially drone control, although the drone might be land based. But anything where you’re too far away from voice and mind control might actually be faster than using a tablet controller.
And then there’s gaming. Just like your Star Wars toy. That’s one where the coolness factor comes in, and people want to do it with mind control just because it’s fun to do it that way. Those applications often involve controlling something that’s virtual anyway.
So as far as in-home applications for home automation that require wearing a helmet…You may be having a hard time coming up with use cases because there aren’t that many where voice or gesture wouldn’t be easier for the person to use. Assuming they are physically capable of doing so. If someone is not able to vocalize in a way that Amazon echo can understand, then the helmet could replace almost all of the voice controls.
Otherwise, I think I’d like mostly at the fun stuff. Gaming in particular. But also a DJ Device for controlling lights and the AV system. That would be cool.