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Thought-Controlled Computing Will Light Up Vancouver Olympics

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Figure skating? Please. The main attraction for many visitors to the Winter Olympics will be an installation letting them control the lights at Niagara Falls with their minds. That's right: we're all telekinetics now.

Of course, anything seemingly this amazing requires some hedging. The Bright Ideas installation by Toronto-based company InteraXon doesn't let you decide what color the lights should be or how brightly they should shine, and it can't tell if you're specific thought is, say, "Lights, I command thee!" Instead:

The headset used in this installation measures the brain's electrical output and reacts to alpha waves, associated with relaxation, and beta waves, associated with concentration. As the users relax or focus their thoughts, the computer will send a message over the internet to the site they are viewing. InteraXon's custom software connects users thoughts to the lighting controls to change the display on the landmark site.


So basically, as long as you're thinking hard about something, you'll be able to control a light show thousands of miles away. In addition to Niagara Falls, displays will also be featured at Toronto's CN Tower and Ottawa's Parliament Buildings.

Someone, please, if you make it out to Vancouver this month, let me know what this is like. And don't worry! I'm sure the headset's not simultaneously recording your brain waves to somehow remotely manipulate your every thought down the road. At least, I'm pretty sure. [InteraXon]