A way to control video games with your mind? I believe that. Having it work well for the $299 price tag San Fran-based Emotiv Systems has put on their EPOC head gear? Hrm … skeptical. Here’s the description from the site:
The Emotiv EPOC now makes it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player’s mind. Engaging, immersive, and nuanced, Emotiv-inspired game-play will be like nothing ever seen before. Based on the latest developments in neuro-technology, Emotiv has developed a new personal interface for human computer interaction.
The Emotiv EPOC uses a set of sensors to tune into electric signals naturally produced by the brain to detect player thoughts, feelings and expression. It connects wirelessly with all game platforms from consoles to PCs. The Emotiv neuroheadset now makes it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player’s mind.
The headset was introduced at GDC this week and, according to Mr. Web can “detect around 30 different conscious thoughts, expressions and non-conscious emotions based on electrical signals around the brain. These could include smiling, laughing, winking, shock, anger, smirking and grimacing; excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate. In addition, the technology can respond to action based on visualization, such as the ability to make objects disappear.”
All I can think about is how I usually play video games and my thoughts getting in the way of the game. I imagine being in stealth mode stalking the enemy. It’s the boss battle. I’ve got one sniper round left and a clear shot. And then my dog comes and pushes his little wet nose onto my arm (his “take me out right now or I’m going to poop on your Game Informer magazine collection” warning). Will the system pick up on my frustration? Will my character throw his hands up in the air and get kilt?
I did some searching and found this piece on Crave from a dude who tried out the system. It seems that right now, the system is less dependent on what’s going on in your mind and more dependent on you repeating patterns to produce actions:
“…there’s no relationship at all between brain activity that is consciously trying to “pull” the cube forward and what happens. That is to say, it doesn’t matter in any way what you’re doing with your mind, so long as what you do during the six-second calibration matches what you do when you try to enact the action.”
So… the guys at Emotiv are definitely onto something here … I’m just not sure how well this first release will work. I’d like to try it out for myself.