Recently in the article "What is next for touch screens, part 3" I proposed to expand the TRIZ pattern of evolution "from mechanical actions to electromagnetic actions, and then to optical actions" as follows:
from mechanical actions to electromagnetic actions, then to optical actions, and then to mental actions
Two months have not elapsed yet as the media reported significant advances in this direction. First Associated Press reported that Swiss scientists demonstrated mind controlled robot. Then came a report that neuro-scientists at the University of Minnesota managed to create a specific thoughts detector, which detects pilot's thoughts when controlling an aircraft. This for the first time allowed piloting by thought. The pilot stays on the ground and thinks of how to manoeuvre a helicopter and his thoughts are intercepted and interpreted as mental commands, which are transmitted to the helicopter's controls. (Read more on this here and watch how it works here.)
It appears that mechanical actions exerted by a human can now be indeed substituted by his mental actions. But what is about mechanical actions exerted by dumb objects ? How can they be substituted by mental actions ?
Probably the intermediary dumb objects will no longer be needed. Mechanical systems consisting of many parts acting upon each other will be gone. Complex mechanical schemes and mechanisms will be replaced by simply Tool + Controller, executing mental commands. To avoid the need to have a human controlling each and every such a system live, the mental commands could be recorded on some media and played by a special player.
The obvious drawback of the current setups for thoughts detecting is the need to put them on the human head and have electrodes attached to the human body. It would be nice to be able to detect thoughts remotely. Then such a detector could be made part of various devices, smartphones, for example. Then they would become really smart, without putting anything on the human head. That would be cool ! Is there anybody to take up this challenge ?