This story has been updated.
Will you be able to take a photo with Google Glass and share it on Facebook or Twitter just by thinking about it?
That’s the promise given by the first version of an app called MindRDR, designed by This Place studio. To use this app, which is free to download, you will also need a pair of Google Glass, and a headset made by the biosensor company NeuroSky called the MindWave, which costs about $120.
Dusan Hamlin, the chief executive and founder of This Place, said in a statement that MindRDR could enable some people with disabilities to interact with the world using Google Glass. Current users either have to touch it or use voice commands to control the Glass, which can be restrictive for people with certain disabilities.
Here’s how the company claims it will work: Users will need to relax and concentrate when they are trying to take a picture, says the company. The app will analyze user’s brainwaves through the process, and when the level of focus crossed a threshold, MindRDR tells the Glass to snap a photo. The app will provide Glass wearers with visual feedback throughout the process, and demonstrate how close they are to taking a picture. If the user continue to concentrate, the app will tell the Glass to share the photo on social media.
As you might guess, there is some fine print.
The functionality is still limited since the headset’s biosensor can only measure some senses in the brain, not all. In addition, the app is not yet approved by Google.
“Google Glass cannot read your mind,” a Google spokesperson told The Washington Post in an e-mail statement, “This particular application seems to work through a separate piece of kit which you attach to Glass. We have not reviewed, nor approved the app so it won’t be available in the Glass app store. Of course, we are always interested in hearing about new applications of Glass, and we’ve already seen some great research from a variety of medical fields from surgery to Parkinson’s.”
Some also raised doubts regarding the product’s name, which seems to make people believe the MindRDR can read your mind. As Will Oremus, technology writer at Slate explained recently, the biosensor is a “crude” device that “cannot read your mind any more than a toddler can read Finnegans Wake.”
“At best, they can make crude inferences as to whether certain regions of your brain are more or less active than usual,” Oremus wrote, “But it can’t begin to differentiate between your intentions to take a photo and your intentions to, say, search Google for the nearest Thai restaurant.”
Here is a video that shows people using the MindRDR with Google Glass.