Brain power

Chilean company makes first physical object using thoughts

Creative Chilean group Thinker Thing has successfully combined 3D printing and the power of the human mind.

Thursday, June 20, 2013  
This first object created using only thought, printed May 8, 2013. Photo by Thinker Thing / Facebook This first object created using only thought, printed May 8, 2013. Photo by Thinker Thing / Facebook.

 

Chilean dream team Thinker Thing has become the first to successfully create a physical object using only the thoughts of an individual. The company’s CTO, George Lakowsky, was able to create an object just by picturing it while being hooked up to an Emotiv EPOC brain-computer interface.

The object, a small orange hand-like shape, is basic in its form, but marks a major triumph for the technology that created it.

“Whilst the first object George created was very simple, it’s a breakthrough of epic proportions in our project,” Thinker Things Founder Bryan Salt told NueroGadget.com, a site dedicated to brain-computer technology news.

“George was able to control an evolutionary process that grows a 3D object using the small electrical impulses detectable in the brain,” Salt explained. “This evolving model is created in a form that can be read by the latest 3D printers, which allows us to create real physical objects directed by your mind.”

Essentially, the user is wearing a headset that detects brain patterns and transfers that data to a computer. Based on the unique brainwave data, the computer program created by the team then ‘evolves’ a 3D model from a base, which can then be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.

The inventive group behind this impressive new technology, Thinker Thing, first got kick-started through the support of the innovative Start-Up Chile program. The basic idea behind their proposal was to devise a way that anyone could create something using only the power of thought.

Thinker Thing plans to take this project on the road once it is perfected. The first stop? Rural Chile. The group hopes to bring the technology to some of the country’s most disadvantaged children, giving them the opportunity to be among the first in the world to create 3D objects with their minds.

The overall goal is to use the project as a learning tool to share the fundamental ideas of science, technology, engineering, and art. Using the interface, the children will think up creatures and bring them to life. Thinker Thing then plans to display these creations.

“We expect children from different parts of the world will create vastly different creatures that, in some small way, reflect the environment in which they were born. This gave us our idea, to create a school outreach program and exhibition for the fantastical creatures these children create,” Salt said. “I was lucky enough to have an excellent and free education in a rural part of England where I was born, so we wanted to involve remote, free-to-attend schools here in Chile.”

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