London, July 20 : Computers and devices controlled by humans will no longer be restricted to sci-fi movies and cartoons, for a group of Brit researchers are trying to turn science fiction writers' vision into reality with a device that allows objects to be manipulated with brain waves.
Developed at Essex University, it is already possible to play simple computer games with the prototype.
This hat shaped device can tell the computer to move an object around a screen or a robot around a room just by imagining a movement.
And the creators of this device expect that in future their technology may allow people to move wheelchairs and drive cars with their thoughts.
This breakthrough comes in line with Nintendo's willingness to build on the success of the motion-sensitive technology used in their console, the Wii, by developing games that can be controlled by thought.
For gathering brain signals, the scientists use a cap fitted with electrodes that detect changes in the electrical activity produced by the neurons.
And when a person wearing the cap imagines a particular action, such as moving a hand, it produces a specific signal pattern that a computer learns to recognise.
"We have been developing this to help disabled patients who have limited movement ability or don't have any, so they can control a computer or a wheelchair by thinking," The Telegraph quoted Dr John Gan, who is leading the research at Essex University's department of electrical engineering, as saying.
He added: "But the general applications are quite widespread, from controlling computer games to using the brain to control things in the living environment, such as turning lights on and off, opening and shutting curtains or switching channels on the television."
Now, the scientists are hoping to completely change the way humans interact with computers and technology by abandoning keyboards for devices that interpret signals directly from the brain.