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Mind Reading Controllers Reading Minds?

Forbes outlines how researchers experimenting with game controllers based on brain waves can actually reveal some of a user's secrets (thanks Ant via Slashdot). See if you can wrap your mind around this:

When shown a collection of locations on maps that included one of their home, the headset-wearers’ brains emitted tell-tale hints that allowed the experimenters to determine their home’s general location with 60% accuracy on the first try among a collection of ten choices. And when the subjects were asked to memorize a four-digit PIN and then shown a series of random numbers, the researchers found they could guess which of those random numbers was the first digit in the PIN with about 30% accuracy on the first try–far from a home run, but a significantly higher success rate than a random guess.

In fact, none of those results point to a realistic possibility of cybercriminals reading victims’ minds through their gaming headsets any time soon, Oxford’s Martinovic admits. The Neurosky and Emotiv devices, which sell for between $200 and $300, have hardly entered the mainstream, and the mind-reading attacks the researchers describe aren’t reliable enough to make them a profitable avenue for data theft, anyway.

But Martinovic says that the main challenge in looking for signs of the users’ mental responses was sorting through the noisy and often inaccurate signals the headsets produced. Those signals are likely to improve.

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