If you think the idea of controlling technology through telepathy sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, you’re in for a surprise. Current advances in brain interface tech may allow you to operate gadgets by thought.

Brain computer interface technology was first developed to help restore hearing, sight and movement to people with disabilities. Since then, software developers and researchers are finding ways to use this tech for the general market.

Facing technology head on

Not only can brain computer interfaces increase our efficiency, they can also keep us free from distractions while driving or holding an important meeting. The Good Times app, developed by neuroscientist and former software engineer Ruggero Scorcioni, communicates with a brainwave-reading headset and blocks phone calls when it senses the user is busy.

Good Times was created by Scorcioni during an AT&T 26-hour hackathon hosted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Scorcioni won first prize and said he will use his $30,000 winnings to further develop the app, which may also include email filtering and researching the level of concentration at which users want calls filtered.

The future of brain control, mobile devices

In an interview with ComputerWorld, Scorcioni spoke about the future of the Good Times app. “It could be used to change music on your smart phone that you’re hearing based on your mood,” he said. “If you’re watching TV and are bored by the show, it could change the station.”

Samsung is also trying to put brain computer interface technology into mobile devices. According to an article in MIT Technology Review, researchers at Samsung are testing how “people can use their thoughts to launch an application, select a contact, select a song from a playlist, or power up or down a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.”

As the old saying goes, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Fortunately, with advancements in brain computer interface tech, we’re getting much closer to unlocking its full potential.