Scientists have developed a new headband that could tell you when your brain is on mental overload and help offload some of your work to another person.
According to the Boston Globe, the technology, in development at Tufts University's Human-Computer Interaction Lab by computer scientist Robert Jacob and biomedical engineer Sergio Fantini, will enable the headband to read brain activity and enable a computer to determine whether the wearer is bored, fatigued, or sharp.
The project has been developed with air traffic controllers in mind due to the rigorous and highly stressful nature of their work.
The technique for analysing and acting upon brain activity is called functional near infra-red spectroscopy, or fNIRS. A row of small red lights embedded in the headband beams light waves through the skull and onto the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
A computer connected to the headband cannot actually read minds but it can gauge the person's level of mental exertion by measuring the amount of light absorbed by the brain.
A tired brain draws more blood than one working easily, and therefore absorbs more light. That tells the computer the wearer may be overwhelmed.
As every brain is different baseline testing of each individual is required to determine the point at which performance begins to suffer.
There is also capacity to modify the headband to allow electrical stimulation to improve mental awareness.
The developers say that the headband causes no pain and is not dangerous.