Even as our world is increasingly becoming more digitised with the advent of AI and machine learning, 23-year old Indian origin geek Arnav Kapur has invented a device through which he can surf the internet just by using his mind.
Even as our world is increasingly becoming more digitised with the advent of AI and machine learning, 23-year old Indian origin geek Arnav Kapur has invented a device through which he can surf the internet just by using his mind. Kapur, who is currently a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab demonstrated the efficacy of the device he calls ‘Alter Ego,’ in an interview to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley and producer Katie Kerbstat, where he ordered a pizza just by thinking about it!
When Arnav Kapur told the correspondent that he could order the pizza, they couldn’t believe it. “We didn’t really believe him. So we start packing up our gear, and lo and behold, he says, ‘Katie, your pizza’s here,” Kerbstat told the news agency. Arnav Kapur also showed a demo and surfs the internet with his mind to come up with answers for math problems as well as questions such as the largest city in Bulgaria and its population.
AlterEgo, Kapur’s invention is a wearable device that intercepts electrical signals, which the human brain normally sends to vocal cords, and sends the same information to the computer. Interestingly, the device doesn’t capture a user’s private thoughts and users must deliberately activate the device by “internally vocalizing” it. Interestingly, Arnav Kapur has been working on the project for just about an year now. “I can’t imagine what this project will look like in another year,” says Kerbstat.
“We present a wearable interface that allows a user to silently converse with a computing device without any voice or any discernible movements – thereby enabling the user to communicate with devices, AI assistants, applications or other people in a silent, concealed and seamless manner,” says Alterego’s description in MIT Media Lab’s website. What’s even more interesting, is the accruacy level. “We demonstrate robustness of the system through user studies and report 92% median word accuracy levels,” says the research paper.