A mobile application that uses a brainwave scanner to make phone calls has reached a usable level of development. With the ThinkContacts system, individuals with motor disabilities can select contacts from their mobile phone's add
ress book and make calls.
TheNextWeb reported on ThinkContacts, which uses hardware from NeuroSky that registers two types of qualities in brain activity: "meditation" and "attention." The NeuroSky MindSet headpiece, as shown on the project's YouTube sample video, looks like over-ear-style headphones but for a small boom that touches the skin at the center of the forehead. This three point contact system presumably gives access to enough neural activity to determine both concentration and relaxation, the means of navigation for the app.
After assisting in Bluetooth connection to the mobile device, team developer Mirko Perkusich demonstrates how the user manipulates the Nokia handset with a status bar for both Meditation and Attention. The project wiki explains the navigation in detail: "The user controls the selection of the desired contact by controlling his/her level of meditation and attention. If the user’s level of attention is higher than 70% the software switches to the next contact in the list, if it is lower than 30% the software switches to the previous, otherwise the current contact will not be switched. If the user’s meditation level is higher than 80%, the software makes a phone call to the contact located at the center of the screen."
The app is designed for the Nokia N900's Maemo platform, the Linux-based software that runs on the device. Maemo prioritizes multitasking, cross-platform social networking, multiple desktops and geotagging for its core functionality.
No progress roadmap is given on the ThinkContacts wiki, suggesting this project is still in a relatively early stage. ReadWriteWeb remarked on the limited number of accessibility apps for mobile are currently in the market. Several apps mentioned are available on the Android operating system, many of which are tools for the visually impaired.