Developed in 24 hours only, ‘Good Times’, a brain-controlled application connects to the Necomimi brainwave cat ears and blocks phone calls when the user is busy at work or a conversation. Developed by Ruggero Scorcioni, the application won the 1st prize ($US 30,000) at Hackathon, hosted by AT&T and Ericsson in conjunction with the AT&T Developer Summit, which usually happens just before the start of the International CES in Las Vegas.

Scorcioni was among the hundred developers to get a pair of Necomimi headset for free simply by turning up to the AT&T event. The 41-year-old developer has researched brain wave science as well as written computer programs. After majoring in computer science in Italy, he came to the U.S. and earned PhD from George Mason University in Virginia in neuroscience.

At Hackathon he competed against more than 70 other teams of developers to create a phone or in-car touchscreen app and had only 90 seconds to pitch the idea in front of a panel of judges. The developer pitched the app as a “24-7 personal assistant, somebody that understands you so well, that knows when you are busy without asking, that knows when you can be interrupted without disrupting an important task”.

To create his app, Scorcioni had to partially hack the cat ears in order to read the user’s brain waves. The brainwave data collected by the Necomimi sensor is transmitted over AT&T’s data network. It passes through a hosted call management system, for which an API was made available on an alpha or beta basis. The API is underpinned by technology from Voxeo Labs and Ericsson.

Scorcioni successfully demonstrated the system by having someone call his mobile phone while he made the pitch presentation to judges and other developers. The incoming call routed to voicemail.

Watch Ruggero Scorcioni demoing Good Times, winner app of the AT&T Hackathon

There is no word on whether Good Times would hit the market and when. Scorcioni told Computerworld he was just excited to take out first prize.

However, according to itNews.com, a representative of Freestyle Media, a digital agency which also attended the Hackathon, noted that they might see this app implemented soon. Good Time also notifies the caller the person is busy and suggests to call back later.

The Good Times app idea could become valuable eventually, he said, and could be used for many purposes beyond screening calls. “It could be used to change music on your smartphone that you’re hearing based on your mood,” he said. “If you are watching TV and are bored by the show, it could change the station.”

Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of devices and developer services at AT&T Mobility, called Good Times an exciting prototype that could get more life at AT&T, although he didn’t make any commitments.

Four other teams also qualified at Hackathon to take home money ranging from $10,000 for second place, $5,000 for third, and $2,000 for honorable mention.

Sources: ComputerworlditNews.comLas Vegas Sun

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