With Steve Jobs’s passing there has been no end to the commentary about how his design and technology innovations have changed our life. It begs the question: who is the next visionary that will change things as fundamental to our lives as the way we listen to music, communicate with our families, and make choices about where to eat and shop?
One candidate is Tan Le, founder and president of Emotiv Systems, an electronics company focused on brain-computer interfaces, “that learns how to use you.” Le was named one of the most influential women in technology last year by Fast Company, and it’s no wonder why. Her team created the EPOC headset, which plugs into a USB port and makes it possible for specially designed computer apps to be controlled and influenced by the player’s mind and facial expressions. “It senses your neurons firing,” Le explained to Fast Company, “and, over time, it starts sensing your intent—whether you want to move forward or backward, or jump up and down.”
The implications are far reaching, of course. How might this kind of technology change the lives of those living with disabilities or revolutionize urban planning? How might it influence how we teach or even mother? Only Tan and time will tell. Meanwhile, we are thrilled that Le will be taking the stage at TEDxWomen to talk about our relationships with technology and how we might expect more from our gadgets in the future. This will be Le’s second time taking the TED stage. Check out her previous talk at TEDGlobal in 2010: