Good Times

There's a reason we cover technology instead of create it. When we see a pair of Necomimi ears we see a opportunity to embarrass a poor intern. (Thanks for being a good sport Daniel!) Ruggero Scorcioni, on the other hand, sees a way to automatically control AT&T's Call Management system. At the company's mobile hackathon in January, he was presented with a pair of the brainwave-tracking novelties and immediately cracked it open to gain access to its precious torrents of data. The project he whipped up, Good Times, feeds readings from the cat-eared electrode to an Arduino, which then interacts with the Call Management and M2M APIs. When a significant amount of brain activity is detected, indicating that you're concentrating on something, calls are rerouted. Instead of distracting you from the task at hand, would-be interlopers simply receive a message that "this is not a good time to call please try again later."

The version Scorcioni brought to AT&T's Foundry showcase this morning, in New York City, was a little more sophisticated. The Arduino was gone and the motorized ears were replaced with a MindWave from NeuroSky. The EEG monitor communicated directly with a computer running an application that triggered the do not disturb setting through the API. For now there's a static threshold for activity, which led to quite frequent fluctuation in availability. Future versions should be trainable -- making it possible for the app to recognize what serious concentration looks like for different people. For now it's just a proof of concept. For one, brain wave monitors are hardly unintrusive, but it's a glimpse at what's possible with powerful APIs and a little creativity. Check out the gallery below.

AT&T Innovations Showcase: Do Not Disturb headset

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Good Times knows when you're concentrating, sets your phone to 'do not disturb'