- TOKYO (AP) - Tired of reaching for the remote control every time you surf
the channels? Help is on the way - at a price. A Japanese company plans
to market a device that changes television channels and activates household
appliances at the flicker of a brain wave. The price: roughly 600,000
yen ($4,800). The product, called the Mind Control Tool Operating System,
or MCTOS, is the result of a collaboration between the Technos Japan Co.
and the Himeji Institute of Technology in southwestern Japan. Say you want
to turn on the air conditioner. Simply focus on that icon on the MCTOS
computer display menu while wearing a pair of beta-wave trapping goggles.
Then, according to Technos spokesman Sadahiro Ushitani, say something like
"Ei!!" inside your head. Soon your air conditioner will be pumping
cool air into the room. Any strong mental affirmation triggers a brain
signal that the goggles then intercept and feed to MCTOS' main computer.
The computer then activates the chosen machine. "You can't just
stare at the icon", said Ushitani. "You have to consciously
send out a positive impulse".
- Other items on the display menu include
lighting, stereo and electric bed controls. The menu can be expanded depending
on what electrical goods are in the room. Ushitani believes the device
can help in the nursing of the bedridden and paralyzed, and Technos has
been flooded by inquiries from health care centers since it unveiled MCTOS
last week. Those it might help include people with speech disorders who
cannot use the orally activated remote control systems already on the market.
Although similar breakthroughs in brain-wave technology have been made
in the past, they have remained largely in the experimental stage and have
been highly impractical. One device developed in the United States requires
an electrode to be implanted in the brain. MCTOS is scheduled to go on
sale in April, 1998.