This is a very extensive review that explains everything from the start of the company to present time. Tan Le had a hard life for a while but she also had a dream. When she knew there was a technological revolution going on she wanted to be a part of it. She met a few people who actually became co-founders (Nam Do, and Alan Snyder) together they started Emotiv. They did this because they noticed that emotion wasn't really being integrated into technology. They thought that since emotion drives us it should be a part of everything. Especially technology. And now, it is.
By: David H. Freedman
I'm sitting in a darkened room, attempting to move a large block with nothing but my thoughts. I stare at it intently and imagine myself physically tugging on it, trying to flood my mind with a sense of strain and determination. But the block doesn't budge. I try again, concentrating, concentrating: Move, dang you; I am your master. After a long moment, the block trembles a bit, and then slowly skids toward me a few feet before stopping. Encouraged, I mentally bear down until the block resumes its sliding, and this time it keeps going. I'm gripped by the immensity of what I have just accomplished: effecting a change in the world around me without moving a muscle. Well, that's not entirely true. I may have squinted a bit.
This isn't a dream; it's science -- and soon, maybe, a big business. OK, the block was only a virtual one on a computer screen, but that's a nit. The same technology that converted my thoughts into action on the screen someday could be hooked up to a real-life backhoe, robot surgeon, or microwave oven, placing any of those objects at my mental whim. This thought-conversion technology is composed of some extremely sophisticated software and a piece of headgear that looks like a cross between a telephone headset and a skeletal bike helmet. Embedded in the headset are 16 electrodes that press lightly on my scalp, monitoring the electrical signals generated by the 3 pounds of toothpaste-like goo sealed in my skull. The signals are my brain waves, the stuff of thought and emotion. The headset passes the signals to the software, which extracts patterns that can be used to control anything that's run by electronics.
Brain waves usually are monitored in hospitals or research labs, but I'm in a conference room at a company called Emotiv, where a few dozen scientists have developed the gear and software that quite literally read my mind, allowing me to play a sort of video game with nothing but sheer thought. This is not a rough, spare-no-expense research and development prototype of some distant-futuristic product, but rather an upcoming stocking stuffer. For $299, you and yours will very soon be able to vaporize onscreen enemies with an angry thought, have your online characters smile when you smile, and see video games react to your level of excitement.
And that's just for starters. Backed by some impressive partners, Emotiv has a long-range strategy that sounds like a business-school case study from the 22nd century. After enabling us to control video games with our minds, Emotiv intends to let us control most everything else we do on our computers and, after that, what's around our homes. In 10 years or so, according to the company's co-founder Tan Le, we will all go around in a world that will respond to our mental commands. Fed by data wirelessly streaming in from a few freckle-size sensors embedded in your scalp, your stereo will know when you are feeling blue and what sort of music cheers you up. Movies will know when you are getting bored and cut to the action. Car advertisers will know when you are feeling the need for speed. Your doctor will know when you are depressed. Doors will open at your mental command.
Given all this, you might expect that Emotiv would be sitting pretty. But if you think building a mind-reading device is tough, try marketing one. It turns out the old saw about building a better mousetrap doesn't hold in the context of a product most people hesitate to believe is possible and aren't sure they want anything to do with if it is. And that has left Emotiv with a challenge every bit as big as conquering mind reading: figuring out how to present its breakthrough device to the world in a way that will transform it from a slightly scary gadget to the next must-have consumer technology. And Emotiv has to do it while taming persistent hiccups in the system, herding video-game producers into tailoring games to the device, and trying to halt a skidding launch date before competitors -- yes, there are other companies making mind-reading devices -- pick off pieces of the market. "Emotiv faces some crucial decisions it absolutely has to get right," says Stephen Prentice, an analyst at Gartner (NYSE:IT) who has sampled the company's device.
Le admits that such challenges are real. But once consumers give the headset a try, she predicts, a lot of the doubts will themselves be vaporized, and demand will snowball. "We see it becoming a totally ubiquitous device, allowing you to interact in a seamless way with everything else in the world," she says.
That grandiose strategy reflects the intensity and outsize ambitions of Emotiv's founders, and especially of Le. Her entire life has been a string of hard-won, improbable triumphs, and she is loath to lower her standards to anything less than spectacular. Going all in with Emotiv doesn't scare her. "When you start with nothing," she says, "you don't get attached to a lot of things. You end up unafraid to push outside your comfort zone." Continue To Page 2 Here