'Google Glass cannot read your mind,' Google says about mind-reading Glass app

A new app for Google Glass allows users to take photos using brainwaves.

Google Glass

A new hack for Google Glass enables users to use brainwaves to take photos through the device’s camera and post them to social media without moving a muscle, the BBC reports. Google, however, has yet to review or approve the application, and a spokesman told the BBC that, for now at least, "Google Glass cannot read your mind."

Developed by a London startup called This Place, the MindRDR software combines with an electroencephalographic (EEG) headset that measures the user’s brainwaves and reacts to spikes in activity. By attaching the EEG headset to Glass, the MindRDR software monitors users' levels of concentration and projects a horizontal white line on the Glass display, which rises as concentration levels increase. Once the white line reaches a certain point, the Glass unit automatically snaps a photo of the field of vision on which the wearer is concentrating. Immediately after the photo is taken, the white line returns to the screen. Bringing the white line back to the top of the screen automatically shares the photo to social media.

So, yes, you can now share photos to social media without moving. I’ve always said we don’t have enough ways to post photos online.

While Google has initially distanced itself from the app, which it has done in the past with independently developed Glass apps, the spokeswoman who spoke to the BBC didn't rule out the possibility of its approval in the future.

"Of course, we are always interested in hearing about new applications of Glass and we've already seen some great research from a variety of medical fields from surgery to Parkinson's,” she said.

MindRDR’s developers actually cited a handful of medical conditions that the brainwave-control for Glass could alleviate, including multiple sclerosis, quadriplegia, and locked-in syndrome.

The medical applications of this technology are the most likely to help its case with Google, which has staunchly opposed certain apps, such as facial recognition, that early Glass adopters developed in spite of Glass’s developer policies prohibiting them.

Outside of the medical world, however, this kind of functionality is likely to draw serious privacy concerns. The concern that Glass wearers are recording those around them without their knowledge has damaged the technology’s reputation, and has occasionally led to violence against those who wear it in public.

If Glass wearers can take photos and share them without even moving, there will literally be no way of knowing whether a Glass user is recording and sharing the activity of those around them. In that scenario, just the presence of the technology could make some people uncomfortable.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.