China's Xiaomi teases tech to control smart homes with brain waves

You'd wear a big clunky headband instead of invoking an assistant … why exactly?

Chinese consumer electronics outfit Xiaomi has teased a device that it says will allow users to control their home using brainwaves.

Described in a post to China's Twitter analog, Weibo, the device emerged from a recent in-house hackathon. An accompanying video shows the device connecting to a smartphone, which displays brainwaves.

In the video, the device's inventors suggest it could monitor brainwaves for signs of fatigue while driving, or be used to control appliances.

The Register's spoken Chinese is nowhere near able to keep up with the video, so we're unable to report any info on the tech powering the deice.

Xiaomi mentioned the device in the context of recently crowdfunded products, so production does not seem impossible.

Brainwave detection tech is not new. In about 2004 your correspondent saw it applied to measure and display the cranial condition of professional rugby players in Australia. The team's coaches used the tech to show players how to reach certain emotional states, so they could respond appropriately under pressure on the field.

The team that used the tech won the championship in the year they employed it.

The brainwave reading rig I beheld was a clunky cap. Xiaomi's video of the prototype – and the company's renders of a shiny wireless device – do not appear to represent unlikely levels of miniaturisation.

Why you'd wander about your home wearing an electrified headband to control lights and appliances when smartphones already allow voice command is not explained.

Nor does Xiaomi's video appear to touch on the terrifying possibility that China's pervasive surveillance state might one day use such tech to divine users' innermost thoughts. ®

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