Using Your Brainwaves to Trigger the “Do-Not-Disturb” Feature: Helpful or Intruding?

Apple’s iOS rolled out a feature last year called Do Not Disturb that allows you to set it up to prevent calls during certain times of the day. It might not stop there. Neuroscientist Ruggero Scorcioni debuted a new automatic do-not-disturb technology via a smartphone app at an AT&T event this week.

Scorcioni’s technology measures your brain activity using a standard headset that works with your phone via Bluetooth. If your activity rises to a certain level, the app will hold calls for you. He promises that it could also be used to hold email notifications and other phone activity until your brain isn’t so busy.

At first thought, this automatic do-not-disturb technology seems great and like it would be an extreme help. But then, the more thought that is given to it, it starts to seem somewhat intruding. We’re adults and have moved beyond having someone tell us when we can and when we can’t do something.


Additionally, some of us have Type A personalities and welcome interruptions even though we’re working really hard. Or at least some interruptions. I don’t want the interruptions of the notifications of junk mail that I get, but I do want work-related email notifications. I do want to get email notifications from my family. I do want to know if someone is commenting on something on my Facebook, but I do not want the notifications inviting me yet again to Farmville to interrupt me.

While it’s great that this technology is smart enough to pick up our brainwaves and to know when we’re working hard or hardly working, it needs to be smart in other ways as well. It needs to be able to be set to allow certain interruptions, just as iOS’ Do Not Disturb feature does. Yet it needs to go beyond just withholding certain people in our address book and working during certain times of the day. It also needs to allow interruptions from some apps, but not others, and from some Facebook notifications, but not others.


What do you think about the automatic do-not-disturb feature measuring your brainwaves to know when it should allow you to keep working? Would you welcome this app on your phone or would it be something that you wouldn’t even bother to download? Let us know in the comments below how you feel about Ruggero Scorcioni’s new technology.

Images credit: By Glogger (Own work), Do Not Disturb

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.