Imagine walking into your home and every electronic device adapting to your current mood or preference. You could set the heating to the appropriate level, you've already turned the oven on before you got to the door and you've switched on soothing anti-work jazz music to ease you into the evening, all without lifting a finger.
Another area Professor Coleman is focusing on is the idea that the BMI could read signals that are emitted from other parts of the body, which are then transmitted and interpreted by another, similar device.
Article continues below
Take speech, for example. There is a phenomenon known as subvocalisation, which is essentially communication before it is vocalised. When we read a word or sentence we internally hear the sound each word makes, which helps us understand and process the information we're taking in.
This is a completely natural process and it helps to reduce cognitive load. Most people will be unaware that they're doing it but as they read sentences or prepare to speak, their throat muscles actually move even if nothing is actually said.
Professor Coleman believes that his BMI device can be attached to a person's throat to read subvocalised speech, transmit the muscle movements to another device – for example, a smartphone - and translate the thoughts into words, wirelessly.
It's truly fascinating stuff and the potential applications are endless. It could change lives for people who are unable to communicate vocally and relieve the stress of having to learn an alternative form of communication.
A more radical, science fiction-type use would be to have person-to-person conversations with just thoughts - although society would probably have to develop a new type of thought etiquette and your dirty, darkest twisted fantasies would have to be saved for a special 'sub-conscious hour' that you have alone every evening.
Police would arrest you for thinking about throwing a Twix wrapper on the floor and you'll always know the truth when your girlfriend says she's 'fine', when she's not fine at all. All because of a temporary tattoo.