Want to control your phone with your mind? There's an app for that under Darpa development

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is working on a project that will create an affordable headset and accompanying app for reading the human mind. So you could soon be sending a text without even taking your mobile out of your pocket, let alone opening your mouth.

The portable brain recording device, as it's described in a Darpa planning document, will use EEG readings to tell the app what your mind is doing. This will be a cheap, mobile and non-invasive device that connects the brain to your mobile like nothing before. 

Currently systems are either too simple, used for gaming (like the Emotiv, or pictured NeuroSky Mindwave), or too expensive and unwieldy. The plan is to create a device for $30 or less, with easy to use sensors that provide a near-instant data readout on an accompanying device.

At this stage that means a basic reading for teaching, military analysis, and viewing brain patterns. But the future potential, for device control and communication, is huge. Darpa even mentions "innovative learning systems" - computers that learn from your thought patterns; scary stuff.

While the plans are at an early stage the backing of Darpa is big news for EEG headset developments. It could lead to a drop in initial pricing and consequent developments from a wider community. Imagine texting on the train without needing to dictate verbally, or even remove your phone from your pocket? Gaming without pesky screen-smudging touch controls? That could be coming soon too. Maybe you'd have to wear a hat with the sensors but as we enter an age of wearable tech this would be leading the charge on our cupboard space.