A team of California scientists have developed the world's first portable brain scanner, and it may soon be able to "read a person's mind," playing a major role in facilitating medical breakthroughs.
"This is very exciting for us because it allows us to have a window into the brain. We're building technology that will allow humanity to have access to the human brain for the first time," said the project's leader, Phillip Low.
KGTV reports that the device, created by San Diego-based NeuroVigil, and dubbed the iBrain, fits over a person's head and measures unique neurological patterns connected to specific thought processes.
Low says the goal is to eventually have a large enough database of these brainwaves that a computer could essentially read a person's thoughts out loud. One person who has already tried out the iBrain is famed physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking.
"We'd like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain," said Low. This past summer, Low traveled to Cambridge, England, where he met with Hawking, who was asked to think "very hard" about completing various tasks while wearing the device.
NeuroVigil says the device could be used at home by individuals and worn during sleep. It comes equipped with a USB port for transferring the recorded data to a local computer.
Beyond so-called mind reading, the device has potential medical applications, such as enlisting the iBrain to help doctors prescribe the correct levels of medication based on a person's brainwave responses. In addition, Low says the iBrain could be used to help treat sleep disorders, depression and even autism.
"This is the first step to personalized medicine," Low said.
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