Project Black Mirror, Mind-controlled Siri is likely a hoax

Last week we reported that the guys of the Project Black Mirror managed to use only their mind to control Siri. But despite the impressive video and setup, the entire thing might be a fake.

As Philip Galander points out in the comments of their website, some of the chips are not wired correctly:

Just a reminder to anyone reading along that the demo videos were faked. There are technical observations anyone can make to confirm this. For example, the SpeakJet chip isn’t connected to anything, and the voltage levels (if any) from the sensors would be insufficient for the Arduino A/D converters.

InteraXon, a company that does real research into thought control of devices, pointed out some other things:

  • ECG pads measure heart activity, not brain activity (EEG pads measure brain activity)
  • Project Black Mirror said they were measuring brain activity on a scale of 0 to 5 volts, but brain activity is actually measured in microvolts.

via TUAW

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Project Black Mirror: Siri Will Read Your Mind! (video)

Siri is an amazing personal assistant. Its ability to understand natural language is amazing. But what if you could just think something and Siri would do it, without you saying anything? What sounds like a new science fiction movie might actually become reality.

Project Black Mirror:

Here’s how their hack works: Your brain waves get collected by hooking up ECG pads to the user. The brain waves are then translated into synthesized speech which is then submitted to Siri through the 3.5mm headphone jack.

  1. ECG pads provide raw skin conductivity / electrical activity as analogue data (0-5v).
  2. This is plugged into the Arduino board via 4 analogue inputs (no activity = 0v, high activity = 5v).
  3. The Arduino has a program burnt to it’s EPROM chip that filters the signals.
  4. Josh trained the program by thinking of the main Siri commands (“Call”, “Set”, “Diary” etc.) one at a time and the program where we captured the signature brain patterns they produce.
  5. The program can detect the signature patterns that indicate a certain word is being thought of. The program will then wait for a natural ‘release’ in brain waves and assume the chain of commands is now complete and action is required.
  6. The series of commands are fed to a SpeakJet speech synthesiser chip
  7. The audio output of which simply plugs into the iPhone’s microphone jack.”

Right now, this hack requires an Arduino board and a MacBook, which means it is not portable. But the guys at Project Black Mirror will try to turn it into an actual product.

If you are interested in this hack, the team will set up a kickstarter project to fund their development soon.

For more details, head over to their website, Project Black Mirror.

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