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Input Devices Entertainment Games

'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year 154

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the yeah-right-it-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In an adapted version of the Harry Potter video game, players lift boulders and throw lightning bolts using only their minds. Just as physical movement changed the interface of gaming with Nintendo's Wii, the power of the mind may be the next big thing in video games. And it may come soon. Emotiv, a company based in San Francisco, says its mind-control headsets will be on shelves later this year, along with a host of novel "biofeedback" games developed by its partners. Several other companies — including EmSense in Monterey, California; NeuroSky in San Jose, California; and Hitachi in Tokyo — are also developing technology to detect players brainwaves and use them in next-gen video games."
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'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year

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  • Lawsuits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:02AM (#22828938)
    This tech sounds like a lot of fun, but I am imagining that the parents of the first kid to blow a gasket trying the brain-wave equivalent of button-mashing are going to be able to bring some interesting court action.
  • by spikesahead (111032) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:44AM (#22829154)
    This makes me think of two things in particular; wearable computing and the return of hats.

    I would sincerely like to be able to have a computer display in my glasses that I could view while walking around or standing in line.. at the very least providing something akin to a wearable Garmin gps device. The problem in my daydream has always been; how do I control the silly thing? How am I going to type? Mini keyboards like that on my phone are fine for short messages, but unsuited to any sort of real industrial typing and completely useless if I have to be walking or driving at the same time.

    I would be willing to put a great deal of effort into learning how to type with my mind fluently.

    However, wearing something like this on my head would make me look kind of silly in the business world. If an interface like this really takes off it could help ignite a resurgence of hats. I read an article recently revolving around how fifty years ago men of any class were rarely out and about without some form of stylish hat. As time passed this trend ended and now all we're left with is casual baseball caps. I've always liked a good fedora, and if they became fashionable to use as a mind interface cover then I could safely wear one in public without looking demented.
  • Great workout..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iknownuttin (1099999) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:57AM (#22829210)
    2) They make this interface work in conjunction with other body movement - like maybe adding it to the Wii games like Avatar. You'd actually have to move and think the right things to get the character on screen to do what you want.

    I always wanted a martial arts game where you would wear gloves and boots and fight a computer guy. it wouldn't be the same as sparring with a real opponent (3D, depth perception, actually getting hit, etc...) but it sure would be a great and fun workout - maybe even helping with timing.

  • by exploder (196936) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:08AM (#22829274) Homepage
    Voice control might be just the ticket, if we don't actually have to use our voice [slashdot.org].
  • Re:Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ice Wewe (936718) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:09AM (#22829282)

    'Mind Gaming' will be this year's vaporware buzzword.

    Hardly, OCZ has already released their neural impulse actuator, which allows gamers to map neural impulses to keys that would be used in gameplay. (ie. WADS) It's not vaporware, it's already here and on shelves (or will be very shortly.)

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/aboutocz/press/2008/273 [ocztechnology.com]

  • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:24AM (#22829404)
    Given that it's a Harry Potter game, it would make much more sense to have the spells be voiceactivated, where the actual spells used in the books would allow you to levitate objects, disarm opponents, etc. Voice recognition software has really matured in the past 10 years, and a lot of gamers already have microphones, so the pieces are already there, they'd just have to be assembled. Plus, with the motion detection in the Wii, you could combine the words of the spell with some sort of motion. This would (a) be totally awesome, and (b) be so close to witchcraft, it would drive the fundamentalists insane, which would also be awesome.

    I would bet that the next big thing, after motion-sensitive controllers, is going to be voice recognition. Imagine you're playing as Captain Kirk, and you can issue commands like "Ahead full impulse power!", "Fire photon torpedoes", or even, during an away mission to some forgotten planet, "Beam me up, Scotty!". I'm not even a huge Star Trek fan or anything, but I think that would be pretty cool.

    Or what about Half-Life 2: what if you could issue commands for your forces, like "medic!" "cover me!" or "attack that strider!" and your squad would actually do something useful, instead of just complain and get shot (which is about the limits of their current capabilities)? And how much easier would it be to control your units in StarCraft, if you could just say "[unit name], [action]", for instance, "Wraiths, cloak", "tanks, seige mode", or "marines, attack carrier"?

  • by ehrichweiss (706417) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:29AM (#22829434)
    I have to agree somewhat. About 10 years ago a company released a device called MotionWare that would electronically make your inner ear feel motion, without any visual or mechanical trickery; the ultimate gamer VR device. I got a developer's version while waiting on them to pitch the idea to places like Logitec, etc. but even though it worked fairly well, there were no takers and so now I'm stuck with a $1000+ prototype.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:46AM (#22829580) Journal
    The best thing about voice recognition for gaming is the same thing that makes it good for teaching languages. The really tricky part about voice recognition is being able to tell that slightly different pronunciations of the same word are, in fact, the same. With something like a Harry Potter game, this isn't an issue because the set of words is relatively small and you actually want poor pronunciation to have negative effects. If you don't enunciate the spell correctly, then you should singe your (avatar's) eyebrows.

    In other games, voice recognition is best for vague commands. If you want a specific tank to go to a specific location, then a point and click interface is best. If you want all tanks of a specific category to adopt some general behaviour then a voice interface can be better. Things like fire at will or return fire behaviour in Total Annihilation were really fiddly to set, but just saying 'fleet, fire at will' would have been a lot faster.

  • Re:Lawsuits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:50AM (#22829590)
    Have you seen Scanners? (Joke)

    I don't know what players will be required to 'do' when using this device, but if it's different to normal gaming, normal rules will not apply.

    Regardless, I wasn't necessarily saying that the headset will cause any problems, but that parents may well attempt to blame any problems that do occur on that scary/frankensteiny/mind-reading helmet.

    Some people distrust scientists you know. Yet others, in their grief, try to blame anything that might possibly have caused their problems. In the UK, parents of autistic kids have been very shrill on the supposed link between inoculations and their children's condition, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It was enough to reduce 'herd immunity' to diseases such as measles to the extent that localized epidemics, unheard of in decades, have occurred (causing much more damage than the jabs themselves). Many others claim to be debilitated by wifi, whilst being unable to identify when wifi systems are switched on (these unfortunate dears are cruelly forced to, er, chill at home on full sick pay).

    If such things can happen to such obviously positive inventions as inoculations, I think that helmets that measure and encourage the manipulation of kiddies' brain waves could plausibly become targets too.
  • Re:Lawsuits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Deadfyre_Deadsoul (1193759) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @01:06PM (#22830136) Journal
    We will be able to pvp with our ears & eyelashes in 5 years times!!

    I cant wait.

    In all seriousness, this does rock, we have only been waiting for this for years now. next step. Holodecks.
  • by gfody (514448) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @03:26PM (#22831178)
    I was playing phantom hourglass on a jet while traveling for work. I was really enjoying the game until I got stuck at this part where I was supposed to actually yell out. I didn't want to do that cause the people around me were sleeping and I'd feel like a weirdo talking to my DS. I ended up playing something else the rest of the flight (thank god for R4)
  • Re:read carefully (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 32771 (906153) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @05:18PM (#22831814) Journal
    Yeah that is what it looks like on the surface.

    You do more than that though, you teach yourself to perform certain actions by controlling your brainwaves.
    Who knows what system you are going to upset with this.

    I say this because I used to play around with SIRDS (single image random dot stereograms) a lot up to the point
    where I could slip easily into the stereo mode and out. When I got that far I occasionally would wake up in the morning and my eyes wouldn't focus right when watching the ceiling. It still happens during the day that when I watch highly repetitive patterns I slip into stereo mode which takes some effort to get out off.

    This is nothing serious but it should remind us that some things weren't planned for by evolution.
  • by Boju! (31741) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @06:41PM (#22832320)
    I have a son with cerebral palsy (spastic quadriplegia). It's incredibly hard for him to play games even with the uber sized trackball I got him (http://www.infogrip.com/product_view.asp?RecordNumber=98). I'd love someone to make this work as there's nothing wrong with his mind it would seem - the signals for movement just don't get to his limbs properly.

    Anyone with a physical impairment that prevents them from using standard input device technology would love something like this. Assuming it works at all... here's hoping.
  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:16PM (#22833172)
    They make a complete interface that allows the gamer to sit on the couch and do nothing physical when he/she is playing the game.

    This tech - made affordable - would be an enormous boost to the morale of the elderly and disabled.

    It is important to keep physically active, of course.

    But to win a game - or simply to be competitive - against those less physically restricted [their own grandkids, perhaps] would be sweet.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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