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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Force Trainer Toy Uses Your Brainwaves to Imitate Yoda-Like Telekinesis (David Lim, Auckland, New Zealand)

Here's one of the most interesting tech toys that have recently emerged from the toy crafting laboratories of Uncle Milton Industries. The Force Trainer is special both because of its affiliation to the Star Wars universe, and because of the innovative technology it uses.

The device has a headset that translates the intensity of your brainwaves into what looks like Force telekinesis powers. If you are strong in the Brainwave Force, you will see a ball move upwards inside a 10-inch tall tube. Just don't try to imagine Darth Vader using the Force Trainer, or the entire thing will be a little too ludicrous, even to veteran fans of the SW franchise. You will have to shed about $100 from your money mound if you want to try out your Jedi potential.

The Force Trainer's brainwave-based system is, in fact, a modified version of similar devices normally used for EEG medical testing. The more you focus on the sphere, the more it will rise, which is cool, even without the Star Wars wrapping. Now, don't you go and picture a brainwave flow emitted by your noggin and delicately nudging the “training sphere.” The ball is actually pushed by a volume of air released when the device detects a certain quantifiable amount of brainwaves from the user.

The creators of the toy probably know they've got a sweet deal going on here, but they still slapped on some Star Wars-like sound effects for good measure - which will probably become boring after a while. Hopefully, there will also be an option for turning them off. After all, a true Jedi needs absolute concentration, disregarding trivial annoyances. Do you really think Obi-Wan Kenobi paid any attention to the musical score, despite its coolness?

Anyway, it's still a little strange to see this kind of technology just waltzing in people's homes. Strange, but also encouraging, in the big picture.

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