Controlling a cursor on the screen using brain waves is one thing, but researchers at Intel is working on computers that can directly read the words thought by a user. Whenever we think of a word, brain activity occurs in parts of the brain associated with what the word represents. For example, when we think of a word for a type of food, such as apple, activity occurs in the parts of the brain associated with hunger. Think of a word with a physical association such as spade, and activity occurs in the areas of the motor cortex related to making the physical movements of digging.
The computer determines what words are being thought by looking at similar brain patterns and looking for key differences that suggest what the word might be. If you think this is far-fetched, Intel scientists already have a working prototype that can detect words such as “screwdriver”, “house” and “barn”, by measuring around 20,000 points in the brain.
Communication may soon acquire a totally new paradigm and it remains to be seen just how exactly it will be implemented. People may object to a computer reading their thoughts but there are obvious advantages in being able to control a computer with thoughts not only by those with certain disabilities but also in dangerous situations.[PhysOrg]