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A Canadian company has created what it calls the “largest thought-controlled computing installation.” It’s an experiment that lets visitors to the Olympics use their brainwaves to control the lights at three major landmarks in Canada, including Niagara Falls.

“When people put on the headsets and find themselves increasing the brightness of the lights by just thinking about it, you can almost see their brains explode,” says Trevor Coleman, chief operating officer for InteraXon, the company that has created this installation.

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The headset measures the brain’s electrical output and reacts to alpha waves, associated with relaxation, and beta waves, which indicate concentration. As users relax or focus their thoughts, the computer sends a message to the site they are viewing. InteraXon’s software translates users’ thoughts to commands that will change the lighting display. For instance, by concentrating, users can make the lights at the CN Tower spin faster or change the brightness of the lights at Niagara Falls.

“To achieve the beta state we ask users to focus on things like an object ahead and its details, while for an alpha response we ask them to take a deep breath and relax to let their mind go,” he says. “But after a minute or two of trying it, we found most users no longer require the physical cues,” says Coleman.

Via Wired e GSP

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