Recently, Yahoo! News revealed that Dr. Todd Coleman and his fellow scientists at the University of California San Diego are developing electronic tattoos that will let you control electronic systems and devices.
Unfortunately, it is not telekinesis. It is like having a little taste of the powers of Jean Grey, except that you will not be able to make people sleep, throw them off a cliff or lift solid objects that you can hurl to enemies. The capabilities of electronic tattoos are only limited to electronic devices. It functions more like a remote control that works using only your brain patterns.
According to the publication in the UCSD website, the team is developing a brain-machine interface (BMI) system to accomplish this feat. The system provides a straight communication pathway between the brain and a specific electronic device. Using the principle of Team Decision-Theory Approach, the brain patterns are interpreted by multiple agents present in the electronic tattoo. The common goal determined by the agents will then be transmitted to the gadget in order for it to perform the task that you require.
Currently, this can be a huge leap in controlling appliances, mobile phones, computers and drones without using the hands or physical parts of the body. This could also be a more effective type of gaining control to an electronic object because it eliminates the limits imposed by a person’s dexterity. You can just feed your thoughts directly instead of typing or making hand gestures to complete a command. The precision of the machine in performing its functions is limited by its capacity and the electronic tattoo though. Plus, this has the tendency to get jammed when interfering signals are present.
Unlike the comic book or movie version of this kind of power, it does not involve exposing you to radioactive substances, gaining magic or a product of some kind of genetic mutation. All it requires is a cerebral cord-cutting.
The process of using an electronic tattoo is non-invasive in nature. Thus, no operation or transplant is required. The method only involves putting an ultrathin layer of plastic to your head and that’s it.
The ultrathin layer of plastic comes with ECG and EEG/EMG sensors. Then, it is equipped with image detectors, temperature sensors, strain gauges, LED. Lastly, it is embedded with wireless communication oscillator, antenna and a power coil. All of these will work together to interpret the complex signals of the brain and relay the common goal of these signals to a device.
Based on Yahoo, the work of Coleman was originally planned to be used for medical purposes. The idea is to create a thin and wearable material that can easily keep track of biological activities of the body. However, as their work progressed, this seemed to career out to a more advanced purpose.
Just imagine what this kind of technology will bring out in the future. Aside from the things mentioned earlier such as controlling electronic devices. This could be very beneficial for people who have lost their bodily functions due to an accident or a health condition. The technology can also aid the military in developing better control for drones or power suits similar to Iron Man’s. But that’s probably looking way ahead.