[The] system, called Brainput, is designed to recognize when a person’s workload is excessive and then automatically modify a computer interface to make it easier.
The researchers used a lightweight, portable brain monitoring technology, called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), that determines when a person is multitasking. Analysis of the brain scan data was then fed into a system that adjusted the user’s workload at those times.
A computing system with Brainput could, in other words, learn to give you a break.
There are other ways that a computer could detect when a person’s mental workload is becoming overwhelming. It could, for example, log errors in typing or speed of keystrokes. It could also use computer vision to detect facial expressions. “Brainput tries to get to closer to the source, by looking directly at brain activity,” says Erin Treacy Solovey, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT.