It’s no stretch for Disney to be creeping around the bushes, peeping prospective wearables to invest its hefty pocketbook in. Not one to settle for the mundane, Disney has its sights set on a bold wearable from San Francisco-based startup Emotiv that connects directly to the human brain. It’s almost like Cerebro, except you don’t already have to be a telepath to use it, and even though Disney owns Marvel, Sony Pictures still possesses the rights to the X-Men franchise over Marvel much to company’s chagrin. So maybe its not quite Cerebro, but it’s still an exciting product they’re cooking up over at Emotiv.
As one of 10 startups selected to participate in Disney’s three-month accelerator program for startups, Emotiv graduates from the palace of princes and princesses as the standout company of the bunch. The company has developed a headset that tracks brain patterns, ultimately enabling users to control virtual and visual objects with their minds. Now, before you start geeking the hell out about acquiring the ability of telekinesis (because in all honesty this wearable sounds a lot like a device to facilitate telekinesis), there’s a caveat. Emotiv’s only product on the market does little more than record your brainwaves and turns them into “meaningful data,” whatever the hell that vague terminology constitutes. Oh, and it’s also a whopping $400.
However, CEO Tan Le sees countless, imaginative applications and abilities for her company’s headset as it evolves and embarks on its next step outside of Disney’s tech boarding school. Le wants her company to be the first of its kind to truly connect people to their own brains. Apps have already been developed to accompany Emotiv’s futuristic, not-quite-Cerebro wearable that display some of the headset’s ability to interact with both virtual and physical objects and be controlled by the wearer’s thoughts, though they’re not commercially available as of today.
What’s promising is the imagination Disney possesses and what it envisions for the neuroheadset, meaning that the company could very likely invest in or buy Emotiv out right in order to bring the wearable and its abundant possibility to consumers. Specifically, the technology powering the device could be tooled to allow users to completely control virtual realities and games with their own thoughts, creating an immersive and completely syncopated experience all rooted in the lobes of the human brain.
“When you realize that something is connected to you and it understands how you’re feeling, it creates another layer of interactivity that doesn’t exist right now,” Le said. “The underlying technology, the ability to control things [with your brain], is so synergistic to what Disney is doing.”
All the startups that have passed through Disney’s accelerator program have achieved some level of success, be it acquiring capital or becoming profitable on their own, in addition to the sizeable investment Disney places in each startup that gets chosen to participate. Disney’s brand is all about fantasy and magic, and a wearable that could conceivably replicate supernatural and inhuman abilities powered just through technology and human thought seems right up the company’s alley. It would be quite the acquisition should Disney scoop up Emotiv and help refine its wearable in order to achieve its mindboggling potential. One plea to Emotiv, though: don’t let Disney convince you to attach Mickey Mouse ears to the headset.