Microsoft is apparently going sci-fi in the battle with Apple for UI supremacy -- the company filed a patent application in August for an EEG system that can classify a user's "brain states" as they work with an interface, sorting them into one of eight categories: interruptability, cognitive workload, task engagement, communication mediation, interpreting and predicting system response, surprise, satisfaction, and frustration. According to the patent application, Microsoft believes that "human beings are often poor reporters of their own actions," and that properly filtered and classified EEG data provides a "less interruptive and more informative technique of determining user interface effectiveness." The patent also describes using the brain state data in real time to adapt the interface to the user, which sounds like it could be a revolution or a terrifying mashup of Clippy and the Lawnmower Man. No word on whether Redmond is already using this tech, but that new Zune interface certainly looks pretty slick, doesn't it?
[Via New Scientist]