Microsoft applied for a patent to monitor user's brain waves to understand how good (or bad) their interfaces are. Filed on August 9, 2007, the patent application, #20070185697, describes a method of classifying EEG data in a way that separates the wheat from the chaff. From the patent application:
When studying how humans interact with computing devices, it is desirable to be able to determine the effectiveness of a computer-user interface, i.e., a user interface. A traditional way of determining the effectiveness of a user interface is to present a computer user, i.e., a user, with a task, observe the user as he or she operates the user interface to complete the task, and ask the user questions before, during, and/or after the task is performed. The observed behavior and answers to the questions are characterized and quantified. The quantified results are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the user interface.
Cognitive neuroscience techniques can be used to provide a more direct way to determine the effectiveness of user interfaces. A typical cognitive neuroscience technique involves attaching electrical sensors, ie., sensors, to various points on a user's scalp. The sensors are then connected to an electroencephalograph (EEG). One use of an EEG is to sense electrical changes within the brain that correspond to certain brain states. It is possible to determine the effectiveness of a user interface by analyzing a user's brain states before, during, and/or after a user performs a task using the user interface.
NCR reports in-the-wild sightings of “deep skimmers” (tiny, disposable card-skimmers that run on watch batteries and use crude radios to transmit to a nearby base-station) on ATMs around the world: “Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.”
Craiglist has something wonderful on it: a vast collection of more than 600 vintage Smith-Corona typewriters, including accessories and marketing literature. Yours for a hundred grand. My collection consists of over 600 typewriter items including the company’s first typewriter in the 1880’s to one of the company’s last typewriters in 2000’s and all models in […]
White hat hackers get paid to find holes in their own employers’ online systems, and plug those holes before they become serious security risks. It’s a job that pays handsomely…mostly because few job candidates, even experienced IT professionals, have the skills to scamper over firewalls and infiltrate the deepest recesses of a battle-tested network. But […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]