Companies are taking out a huge amount of patents related to reading brainwaves, according to analysis, with a range of different applications.
Fewer than 400 neuro-technology related patents were filed between 2000-2009. But in 2010 alone that reached 800, and last year 1,600 were filed, according to research company SharpBrains.
The patents are for a range of uses, not just for the healthcare technology that might be expected. The company with the most patents is market research firm Nielsen, which has 100. Microsoft also has 89 related patents.
Other uses of the technology that have been patented include devices that can change the thoughts of feelings of those that they are used on.
But there are still medical uses — some of those patents awarded include technology to measure brain lesions and improve vision.
The volume and diversity of the patents shows that we are at the beginning of “the pervasive neurotechnology age”, the company’s CEO Alvaro Fernandez said.
“Neurotech has gone well beyond medicine, with non-medical corporations, often under the radar, developing neurotechnologies to enhance work and life,” said Fernandez.