By Carly Sitrin
BU News Service
Wednesday marked the official opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show with exhibitors demonstrating tech from more than 153 countries. A number of Boston-based companies were among the more than 3,600 exhibitors who made the trek to Las Vegas for the annual mega-tech show.
Here’s a sampling.
This Allston-based startup uses a specially designed headband to convert brainwaves into directed energy. Two sensors on the headband monitor EEG signals from the brain and translate them into electronic signals which can be sent through Wi-Fi and onward to any device with a Wi-Fi connection.
Bicheng Han, BrainCo’s CEO, said that the headband and the accompanying robotic hand the company has developed can also help anyone with disabilities because, unlike traditional prosthetics which are connected to muscle signals, the BrainCo device responds directly to the brain.
“We can use brainwaves as a command to control a lot of devices,” Han said.
He said the device will act as a remote to interact with the Internet of Things: “The refrigerator, the lights, the fireplace anything in your home [connected to Wi-Fi].” Essentially, BrainCo’s device can use thoughts to control any Internet-enabled appliance in a smart home, Han said.
Even without a litany of smart devices at one’s disposal, Han said BrainCo can be useful. Focus 1, a brain-training app by BrainCo, incorporates neuro-feedback training to consciously increase brain activity.
“We make it really hard, actually, because during the process [of] controlling the stuff, your brain functions are improved,” he said.
“We’re always thinking about the potential of the brain,” Han said, “because your brain is everything.”
While BrainCo works to convert thoughts into action, the folks at Beco are using traditional light fixtures to collect location analytics.
Beco is a mobile platform that uses specially designed beacon devices, powered by the lights in a home or office, to maximize movements.
“We’re trying to understand where people are in physical space,” said Tom Zampini, founder and CEO of Beco. “From there we can establish where they are, how they use the space, what the workflow looks like, and it leads to a lot of efficiency.”
Zampini said gathering data on how people interact with their environment can lead to further innovations down the line. For example, warehouse workers whose movements are tracked by the devices can be alerted to products they may need to pick. In the long run, Zampini said, it will make people work more efficiently by reducing unnecessary movement and streamlining daily processes.
So where does this data go after it’s collected? Zampini said Beco just provides the analytics and insights.
“It’s all really purpose built,” Zampini said. “It’s really about measuring and then providing engagement so we can actually provide engagement that makes people’s jobs better.