Compared to other advances in the world brain-controlled interfaces, Hitachi's latest development may seem a tad unimpressive, basically amounting to a thought-controlled switch. But, connect that switch to a model train set and you've suddenly got something that's a heckuva lot more impressive -- at least on first glance. To get that train rolling, Hitachi uses optical topography to map changes in blood flow in areas of the brain associated with mental activity, translating those changes into voltage signals to flip the switch on and off. Of course, Hitachi eventually sees the tech allowing for a much greater degree of control, with one of the goals being to help paralyzed patients become more independent. They also seem to think they're on the fast track towards commercializing the technology, saying it could be available as soon as five years from now.

[Via Pink Tentacle]

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Hitachi creates brain-controlled model railroad