Microsoft's "mind reading" patent

19 Oct 2007 - 2:47am
7 years ago
3 replies
850 reads
Séamus T. Byrne
2010

Heres a scary thought!

Microsoft is applying for a patent to monitor user's brain waves in
order to determine the effectiveness of user interfaces. Could this be
the end of user testing as we know it?

Here is the url at BoingBoing where I read about it:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/15/microsofts-mind-read.html

Seamus Byrne

Comments

19 Oct 2007 - 5:46am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

From: "Seamus Byrne" <seamus at seamus.ws>

: Microsoft is applying for a patent to monitor user's brain waves in
: order to determine the effectiveness of user interfaces. Could this
be
: the end of user testing as we know it?

Kevin Larson of Microsoft presented a paper at the British HCI group
conference in 2006 where he described using a variety of techniques to
measure the aesthetic effects of reading, including measuring changes
in the corrugator muscle that is associated with frowing. I assume
that the technique described in the article is an extension of that.

It sounded really barmy to me when I originally read the paper but
Kevin's presentation somewhat convinced me. He was trying to
distinguish between different electronic presentations of written
material where typographic experts immediately saw that one was better
than another, but ordinary people said that they didn't see any
difference. (For the typographically inclined, it was in things like
whether the text had rivers of whitespace or not).

This is a long way from my normal work i.e. I'm mostly working with
stuff where the users can easily perceive differences and those
differences are important to them.

Personally, Laron's presentation went in the 'interesting but not
useful' bucket for me. I'd take the view that if my target users
include typographic experts, then I'd make sure that I took account of
their opinions. If my target users don't include typographic experts,
I might still take account of the experts' opinions for other reasons
e.g. because I'd like it to be reviewed favourably. If the users can't
see any difference, then I'd probably say 'that's good enough' and
spend the effort on something else that's not yet good enough rather
than on wiring users up to measure their corrugator muscles.

And I think I'd have just the same reaction to using EEG.

But your mileage might vary.

(Ref: the abstract of the paper is half way down this long page:
http://www.bcs-hci.org.uk/hci2006/programme/fullpapers.html
which should be enough info to track it down if you felt like it.

best.

Caroline Jarrett
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
01525 370379

Effortmark Ltd
Usability - Forms - Content
:

22 Oct 2007 - 6:07am
Diarmad
2007

Early screenshot from beta testing!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dyoublodd/1689040469/in/set-72157600191075184/

Diarmad McNally
Interaction Design Studio <http://www.ixdstudio.com>

UK +44 (0)7808 297289

Ireland +353 (0)85 7888 085

_____

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Seamus
Byrne
Sent: 19 October 2007 09:48
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Microsoft's "mind reading" patent

Heres a scary thought!

Microsoft is applying for a patent to monitor user's brain waves in

order to determine the effectiveness of user interfaces. Could this be

the end of user testing as we know it?

Here is the url at BoingBoing where I read about it:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/15/microsofts-mind-read.html

Seamus Byrne

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22 Oct 2007 - 9:51am
Tom Corbett
2006

My brainwave on this:
Monitoring EEG is a traditional experimental technique.
The novel piece the filtering that is applied to the EEG data.
-Tom Corbett

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