Researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. They achieved as much as a 40% success rate among a group of willing volunteers. The “hack” works by measuring the brain’s response to images flashed before your eyes, from which the researchers can determine things like your home location, date of birth, and even your credit card PIN. The idea is basically that by showing someone their PIN number, the computer can tell that their brain recognises it as their own.
To extract this information, the researchers rely on what’s known as the P300 response — a very specific brainwave pattern — that occurs when you recognize something that is meaningful (a person’s face), or when you recognize something that fits your current task (a hammer in the shed).
Jitendra Bothra and Baturalp Torun, two students from the Northeastern University College of Computer and Information Science, have decided to set up a channel between the the Emotiv EPOC brain-computer interface headset and the AR.Drone helicopter. The SWARM system they created is able to control multiple AR.Drones at the same time and can be extended to run on different environments.
Although they faced many problems, they claim that in the future the BCI technology could be used to control devices of our daily routine, like cars, phones and other electronics.
According to their project slides Bothra and Torun both predict a future where EEG devices could be improved to a level where controlling devices with our thoughts will become as natural as controlling one’s body parts. Watch the video below and check the slides at slideshare.net for detailed info on the project.