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New product lets your brain drive the PC

demo September 19, 1996
Web posted at: 12:10 a.m. EDT

A new technology from a California company enables people to command machines just by thinking.

It's called MindDrive, from a company called "The Other 90% Technologies Inc." They're planning to sell the product as entertainment software through more than 400 computer retail outlets.

movie icon Demonstration of MindDrive
14 sec./599K QuickTime movie

Say you want to get the sensation of skiing down a mountain. MindDrive lets you accomplish that through a computer. The software senses physical data through a small monitor attached to the user's finger.

sensor

It doesn't actually read thoughts. Rather, it senses the physical results of one's thoughts, and reads them in detail.

It is similar to more expensive programs developed by the Pentagon and NASA for training pilots.

But CEO Ron Gordon said his San Raphael, California company started entertainment software since the technology cannot yet stand up to more demanding tasks.

MindDrive can be applied to pinball or bowling, or fib, a game that's closely akin to the polygraph, or a lie detector machine.

The result of seven years of development, MindDrive is about to go on the computer peripheral market at $149.95 a copy.

bowling

The 10 initial games and other software products are priced from $24.95 to $39.95.

The small circuit box connects through a serial port to any IBM compatible computer with 486 or higher capacity.

Currently it can only read direction or intensity, but research on the product is continuing.

One of The Other 90% Technologies' partners is Walt Disney Co.'s Miramax studio, a company that sees a big future for the MindDrive at the box office.

"This does for us what any great movie does," said Mark Gill, president of marketing for Miramax Films. "It's original, and different, and thought provoking."

Gill said Miramax may use MindDrive to develop short films whose plot and outcome are controlled by viewers' thoughts. Such a movie could debut on the internet in early 1997, he added.

The Other 90 Percent, with a capitalization of about $5 million, derived its name from physicist Albert Einstein's observation that humans use only about 10 percent of their brain power.

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