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iPhone Hacker Sets Sights on the Human Brain

CNBC.com
Friday, 24 Aug 2007 | 6:19 PM ET

The New Jersey teenager who hacked open the iPhone wants to move on to bigger things: hacking the human brain.

George Hotz has gained the attention of tech geeks and iPhone enthusiasts worldwide after the 17-year-old successfully unlocked the mobile device for use on the T-Mobile network--the same carrier used by his family.

During a CNBC interview on Friday afternoon, Hotz, a slender teenager with a mop of brown hair, exhibited surprising poise and composure, and his enthusiasm for the project was obvious.

iPhone Hacker
iPhone hacker George Hotz tells all, with CNBC's Erin Burnett

Hotz, a recent graduate of Vocational and Technical High School in Hackensack, N.J., says he spent at least 500 hours working on the hack.

He recently told an Australian tech site that he began tinkering with the iPhone because "he needed a summer project," adding, "and wouldn't I look cool walking around with a T-Mobile iPhone?"

Hotz, who says he began programming when he was five years old, leaves this weekend for undergraduate studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology and will be majoring in neuroscience, or "hacking the brain," as he likes to call it.

The projects in development he lists on his Web site include a homemade electroencephalograph, or brain-wave reading machine that communicates with a computer.

"With mere thought, I can write words on the screen, turn lights on and off, or control a [video] pong paddle," Hotz says on his Web site.

The teen hacker counts among his heroes his dad, a systems engineer, as well as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. He hopes to land an internship next summer with tech juggernaut Google.

"My friend is doing an internship there and says it's awesome," he said.

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