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'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 @09:02AM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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.
    • I'm sure the feds would love to mine kids brainwaves to find the future criminals.

      It's all in the name of National Security.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:06AM (#22828964) Homepage
    Not all new input devices will meet with success. There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of Nintendo's Power Glove, and in the end it was used for only a few games and then abandoned.
    • by rolfwind (528248)
      Mod parent up. I remember some VR headsets/"glasses" being released in the late '90s as well and it sucked (remember Gameboy VR too?). Just because a company releases something does not mean the solution is good or even really works well at all.
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:24AM (#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 TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:46AM (#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.

        • by Nullav (1053766)

          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"?

          After being subjected to games like He

          • by CSMatt (1175471)
            Well the game, despite the "E" rating, was specifically engineered for the higher-pitched voices of children. I believe the manual said something about adults and those with lower-pitch voices anticipating difficulty with the voice recognition.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          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)? In UT2k4 you could give orders to bots on your team by using a designation+order voice recognition thingy. If you had three bots, no matter their names, they'd have a "title" of alpha, beta, or gamma. You could hold a button, say "Bet
        • by Jellybob (597204)
          Rainbow Six: Vegas had this feature to a limited extent - I used it for one mission, and then turned it off, after realising that it was quite a lot easier to use the controller, instead of hoping my team didn't utterly ignore me at a crucial moment.

          They should have all been shot for mutiny.
      • by ehrichweiss (706417) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:29AM (#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 Wah (30840)
        Compare the processing and sensor quality of the late '90s with the 2010's.

        Moore's law alone gives 128-fold increase. Something that is 128 times better is 128 times better.

        Can you really compare a powerglove to a wiimote? Isn't 128 times better? Now add a few more years and we get into the thousands quickly.

        Remember, we are still on target for singularity by 2020 or so.
        • by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:03AM (#22829668)
          Agreed, screw the powerglove, roll on Coneheads/Demolition Man style mind-fuckery.

          Slashdotters may actually find themselves in the forefront of a sexual revolution, imagine-

          The hot chick from the flat above asking if you can come round and fix her BSOD'd Love Helm (tm).
          Torrents of the outputs from said Helms floating around on The Pirate Bay.
          Spurned ex-boyfriends of Hollywood starlets leaking recordings of the signals, rather than plain old homebrew porno.

          Oh, the possibilities. Gotta go - ah - lie down...
          • by gad_zuki! (70830)
            Im so sick of this masturbation fantasy all geeks seem to share. Its been around for at least the 80s and it turns out that people, except perhaps Japanese teens, do not want to fuck machines.

            >The hot chick from the flat above asking if you can come round and fix her BSOD'd Love Helm (tm).

            In America? No self-respecting woman would admit to owning one let alone asking a stranger to fix one. When was the last time your neighbor asked you to fix her broken dildo?

            Yeah, I know parent post is a joke, but I w
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by russotto (537200)

              Im so sick of this masturbation fantasy all geeks seem to share. Its been around for at least the 80s and it turns out that people, except perhaps Japanese teens, do not want to fuck machines.
              That is because no one has made a machine with the look and feel of Natalie PortmanSummer Glau yet.
            • You miss the point (but I hid it pretty well). We will shortly be able to directly tweak the brain's pleasure zones, producing anything from a heroin high to a multiple orgasm. That will be cool.
              • by gad_zuki! (70830)
                We can do it now with herion. I dont see the difference. It will also cause withdrawal and other nasties. Congress will step in and possession of that tech will be a serious felony. The drug war will expand to techies who use this shit. Not exactly Brave New World.
          • "Torrents of the outputs from said Helms [wikipedia.org] floating around on The Pirate Bay."

            Not in my VR helmet, thank you very much...

    • by vertinox (846076) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:29AM (#22829074)
      There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of Nintendo's Power Glove, and in the end it was used for only a few games and then abandoned.

      True. However, it wasn't that the new interface that made the Power Glove fail but rather the fact it didn't work. I had gotten one as a kid and the thing never worked and was very cumbersome to program. The was most likley due to the fact it was of poor quality and was more of a gimmick than actually being a well designed product.

      The same fate happened for the VR Boy. It was basically an LED that was on a spinning mirror. Great idea but the worst possible implementation ever.

      I personally think the technology was not ready for either back in the 90s. However, they kind of got it right with the Wii remote and maybe someday LED technology will allow VR glasses that don't weigh 20lbs and give you a head ache after an hour of use.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Krakhan (784021)
      As a nitpick, it wasn't Nintendo that made the Power Glove. It was Mattel.

      Regardless, I think a big part of the reason it wasn't used much at all was the huge hassle it took to get it set up with games (you had to actually know and enter in a code for each game before you could use it), and even if it supported it, it just didn't work well at all, and you were better off just using the NES controller.

      A better example from Nintendo for accessories they released was probably the Super Scope. Neat, and did w
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GatesDA (1260600)
      The Power Glove was by Mattel, not Nintendo. Another example of input innovation that didn't catch on was the Bandai Wonderswan. It had buttons on three corners so it could be played in portrait or landscape orientation.
    • by Jhan (542783)

      Not all new input devices will meet with success. There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of Nintendo's Power Glove, and in the end it was used for only a few games and then abandoned.

      Spot on. This is the new Power Glove, except even less useful.

      This interface is based on some beta software for paraplegiacs, with a bandwidth of a few bytes per second, while taking months to get accustomed to as all the hard parts of the interface are shifted from hardware and software to the meat-ware, your brai

  • Wouldn't be the first time that a company put out a press release about mind control for consumer hardware at this time of year.
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:12AM (#22829000) Homepage Journal
    "mind-control headsets" do exatcly what the name implies.
  • Patents? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Let's see how many people will be saying that the technology is patented.
  • I hope they don't put a dumb plug on it that Joe with no brain can jack into something else. We wouldn't want to toast that one remaining braincell now, would we..

    (BOFHs would say yes, of course :-).

  • by Cheerio Boy (82178) * on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:17AM (#22829034) Homepage Journal
    I can see this going two ways:

    1) 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.

    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.

    The former will make even bigger couch potatoes and the latter will make people even more active while gaming.

    I personally would choose the latter if given the choice.
    • Great workout..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iknownuttin (1099999) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:57AM (#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 merreborn (853723)

        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...
        A fact that half the posts in every thread relating to the game would point out.

        At least, if guitar hero threads are any indication.
    • Absolutely! Think about the TV ad. People look like they are having fun flipping their Wii controllers around. That's good marketing. Now think about the TV ad for a brain-only controller. Oooh, scary!

      I think the ideal would be a device that combines full body gestures with brain activity. This could use a Wii-like controller or even better, motion sensitive gloves with AR-style sensors that detect finger position. This gives you natural pushing, pulling, grasping, throwing, object swinging, waving
    • They make this interface work in conjunction with other body movement

      I just hope to hell that nobody ever interfaces one of these to a cell phone. The bluetooth headset zombies are quite bad enough, thank you.

      • They make this interface work in conjunction with other body movement

        I just hope to hell that nobody ever interfaces one of these to a cell phone. The bluetooth headset zombies are quite bad enough, thank you.

        Bah! What's a little Cyberman Invasion! ;-)


        For those that don't watch Doctor Who I'm referring to the closing of Series 2 of the new shows:

        Rise of the Cybermen [bbc.co.uk]

        • Time to nitpick: Rise of the Cybermen was not the closing of season 2 of the new shows, it was approximately in the middle. Granted, Cybermen did show up in the season finale, (omg spoilarz), but then the bluetooth headset zombie comment is slightly less relevant.

          Of course, then there's the part where I insist on calling it season 28 of Doctor Who, but I'll let that one slide ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      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.

  • Can I use it while wearing my tin-foil hat?
  • Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:24AM (#22829050)
    'Mind Gaming' will be this year's vaporware buzzword.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ice Wewe (936718)

      '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]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by milamber3 (173273)
        I'm sorry to say this, but none of these will work. The OCZ version and every other version that is coming out anytime soon (i.e. next 10 years or more) will make the power glove look good. The sophistication we have in recording and analyzing EEG is no where near ready and that is when we use setups in labs that cost 10's of thousands of dollars. The subjects still need to stand completely still and even eye blinks will give you major artifact. The EEG you will get from the sub par recording electrodes
        • by megaditto (982598)
          Well, they could actually be doing something else that works: measuring blood flow in skin (temperature gradient changes) or amounts of prespiration, or muscle tension or something like that.

          In fact, that's how I would do it. For example, the instructions would tell kids to think hard and concentrate to cause some action, but the machine would only look at their eyebrow position (which tends to change while kids concentrate).

          I think the device might work in theory, but not in a way advertized. But yeah, I a
  • Question: (Score:4, Funny)

    by theaceoffire (1053556) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:26AM (#22829064) Homepage
    Does the average kid gamer have enough brain power to set off the sensor?
    I mean, how many madden players are there who buy the same game 49 times?
  • This could give some new meaning to "I think, therefore, I am."
  • Mind Games? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Floydius (811220) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:39AM (#22829120) Homepage
    This isn't good... girls will start beating us at video games on a regular basis.
  • by Tetrad_of_doom (750972) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:40AM (#22829136)

    The one where everybody on the Enterprise became addicted to that game that came with a headset and you controlled with your mind? Everybody became addicted to the thing and went all nutzo. Then Wil Wheaton saved the day by making out with Ashley Judd.

    I would totally get this if I got to make out with a hot chick in a starfleet uniform.

    • by IBBoard (1128019)
      We're probably a bit more likely to have it turn out like Better than Life [wikipedia.org] (Red Dwarf) - we get sucked in to it and the whole world goes to pot in some shady machine.
    • by morari (1080535)
      Thankful, Wil Wheaton had saved us from those damn, dirty Ktarians!
    • by Braino420 (896819)

      Then Wil Wheaton saved the day by making out with Ashley Judd.
      [comic book guy voice]
      Ah yes, TNG Season 5 episode 6 - The Game. Actually, it was Data that ended up saving the day with the strobe light. Wesley Crusher did fix Data's positronic links that were severed by Dr Crusher, but they ended up forcing Wesley to play the game right before Data saved them.
      [/comic book guy voice]
    • It's only $44.95 a month. That's just pennies a day. Surely this Convenience Intices you!

      Pornography and online gaming at hundreds of times the speed of your normal advertising service provider!

      It's so easy to use, and the surgery to implant it in the base of your skull is so painless, it's no wonder I'm number one!

      Sign up for the thirty day trial. You must have to have it for thirty days! unlimited hours, over an extremely limited amount of time. telephones? HA! HA! HA! how primitive!!! Live streaming Broa
  • by spikesahead (111032) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:44AM (#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.
    • by tixxit (1107127)
      I doubt anything other than the most basic "mind control" tasks would be easier than voice recognition software. If you had a wearable GPS, wouldn't voice recognition be the easiest, best tested, keyboard free method for user input?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spacefiddle (620205)
      "However, wearing something like this on my head would make me look kind of silly in the business world."

      Kind of like sticking a little Borg-like flashing widget behind your ear and walking down the street talking to thin air? :D

      From what I can see, what is acceptable in the business world morphs as something becomes popular, useful, or trendy with the C-levels. The first adopters will be snickered at; and then if it becomes as ubiquitous as iPods and bluetooth Borg-earpieces, those same snickerers will ru
    • Typing with your brain would be awesome. Being all carpal-tunneled like I am, I'd be happy to devote months to brain-typing. Way more time than I spent learning Dvorak.

      I think you're wrong about the hat thing, though. Back when they introduced the Walkman, a lot of people assumed it would be a flop because who the hell would want to wear earphones that make you look like a robot space alien? And let's not get started on people with the hands-free cell phones. You look ridiculous. Trust me on this. Bu
    • by Jimmy_B (129296)

      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.

      Typi

      • Hands free is really what I'd like the most.. what about building it into dentalware.

        As a concept, something like a touch screen element shaped like a mouthguard, that alone could help quadriplegic patients. Eventually you would be able to make them into something like braces, or dentures.
  • Personally, I'm a little uncomfortable with the notion of anything or anyone but me reading my thoughts. I'll share them, or act on them, when I'm ready. Clearly though, such an interface has many promising applications ranging from military to medicine.
    • It's not like they're reading your thoughts anyway. Just the electrical signal produced by clusters of neurons firing.

      Maybe that can eventually be decoded into thought (although I suspect the particular signals that would work best for gaming are motor in nature), but that technology is probably rather far away.

  • Didn't Sony last year or something file a patent on games that you interacted with via thought?
  • You could make a pretty fun Star Wars game using this.
  • Looks like Sony's "PS9" commercial, where a guy takes a pill and hallucinates his gameplay is one step closer to reality.

    YouTube link to commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CZXZM6TFb4/ [youtube.com]
  • 9) Isn't this how Childhood's End got started? (Miss you Art :'( )
    8) Great, till Mystique injects that black goo and blows your mind
    7) Can you replay the games back into my skull? (Strange Days)
    6) FORBIDDEN PLANET! (The dials go up to 10 to the infinite power)
    5) "There's nothing you can't do once you put your mind to it." (Now, you can)
    ...
    ...
    ...
    1) WHOA! I know kung-fu!!!
    ...
    Great, can we get a game that does math facts, multiplication tables, etc. I'm always amazed at how my kids can memorize
  • Isn't this exactly the same technology as OCZ's NIA wich was shown in a slashdot article a while ago? Just look here: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/02/0131225 [slashdot.org] and then tell me what the difference is, besides OCZ having it nearly complete and this company only testing it... Besides, OCZ's version seems to be compatible with anything, as a new kind of input device, whilst this technology requires modded games.
  • Why is the graphic for the Input Devices topic a spoon?

    Because you use a spoon to "input" food?

    (I hope that's not it, because that's a touch retarded.)
    • Perhaps it's a reference to the Matrix (you could consider a neural interface to be an input device). Not that that's any less rubbish, but I think that this is one of those questions where you have to start at the bottom of the barrel and work your way down.
  • The concept of "biofeedback gaming" isn't new... anybody remember Pain Pong [g4tv.com]?
    • Actually Steve Ciarcia did computer biofeedback in the 70's and even published in Byte in June 1979:

      http://www.piclist.com/techref/article/byte/index.htm

      His was actually neuro-muscular IIRC but still biofeedback
  • read carefully (Score:3, Informative)

    by nguy (1207026) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:29AM (#22829448)
    This is what they say:

    Using a combination of EEGs (which reveal alpha waves that signify calmness), EMGs (which measure muscle movement), and ECGs and GSR (which measure heart rate and sweating), developers hope to create a picture of a players mental and physical state. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), which monitors changes in blood oxygenation, could also be incorporated since it overcomes some of the interference problems with EEGs.


    The only component of those measurements that could actually be used for real-time game control is the EMG, that is, measuring the activation of muscles. That may make for interesting games, but it has nothing to do with "mind reading".
    • by c_fel (927677)

      The only component of those measurements that could actually be used for real-time game control is the EMG, that is, measuring the activation of muscles. That may make for interesting games, but it has nothing to do with "mind reading".

      You're right on that point. EEG response is very fast but it's too much sensitive to electromagnetic interference and artifacts like blinking, talking, etc.

      They also say they could rely on NIRS. I don't beleive they could (I've done my master thesis on that field). NIRS signal have a response time of 5 to 20 seconds. So for it to work, that would be a sloooooooow and boring game !

      • by nguy (1207026)
        You're right on that point. EEG response is very fast but it's too much sensitive to electromagnetic interference and artifacts like blinking, talking, etc.

        Not just that, but they aren't even trying to get anything more specific than general arousal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 32771 (906153)
      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 hap
      • by nguy (1207026)
        happens during the day that when I watch highly repetitive patterns I slip into stereo mode which takes some effort to get out off.

        That's pretty common and happens to anybody, whether they have watched SIRDS previously or not.

        You do more than that though, you teach yourself to perform certain actions by controlling your brainwaves.

        Well, all they are looking for in the EEG is alpha waves. Being able to induce alpha waves voluntarily is probably a good thing.
  • I had a biofeedback device and game for my IBM PCjr. This tech isnt new. Now to be fair, the game was fairly lame. But even so this is a reinvention at best.
    • I played a game set up at Fry's about 15 years ago in which the player controls his character by biofeedback. It was a skiing game, I think. It pretty much worked for me, but not for a friend of mine who tried it at the same time. I agree that it sounds like this technology is trying to catch up with the state of the art from 1993.
  • how about controlling your TV remotely by using your thoughts ? That may be a simpler task to achieve and the device could have a far larger and ready market ?
  • by Beefmancer (1260556) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @10:36AM (#22829514)
    I did a final project on the limits of EEG (electroencephalography, or getting-signals-using-electrodes-on-scalp, which is what this is) for a neurotechnology seminar last semester, and compared my findings to the claims made by Emotiv. The result: some of the things they claim this device can do are actually impossible and always will be, and others are extremely unlikely unless they've made some seriously groundbreaking discoveries. (Mediocre two-dimensional movement, for example, has been generated by EEG, but it'd be impossible with their headset unless they have some sick new algorithms.) The professor of the same course actually met with the president of Emotiv, who failed to demonstrate that the device could do anything.

    Last I checked, their marketing videos are ridiculously flashy while showing no real control capability. My belief: EEG headsets like these, at best, will be controllable only by facial muscles (which completely overshadow the electrical potential generated by the brain) and by alpha rhythm amplitude, a very slow control signal demonstrated in "BrainBall", which was posted to slashdot some time earlier. At worst these headsets will be near-worthless devices, their sales supported entirely by false promises and media hype.
  • Biofeedback?

    That reminds me of this comic:

    Perry Bible Fellowship [pbfcomics.com]

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @11:00AM (#22829652) Homepage Journal
    I already spent years in brutal mind games competitions, while dating girls. I retired with the gold medal when I married my wife.

    I thought the entire appeal of online porn is that it's "victory" without the mind games, though its ultimate dissatisfaction is because it's really just a single-player mind game anyway.
  • and the particular game wouldn't matter.

    I need this technology-- even if it just works for mouse clicks.
  • Psychic Hero!

    I call dibbs on the Prof. X avatar.

  • For example, with Emotiv's headset and the "Emotiv EmoKey," players may be able to incorporate biofeedback into many of their favorite PC games, such as the Harry Potter game. By using the EmoKey, players can link their detected brainwaves to actions in the game. For instance, by concentrating on an object, players can cause their avatar to pick up and handle that object.

    Just curious, am I the only one who laughed when I read about their new "EmoKey"?

    Marketers, here's a hint: Avoid the prefix "Emo" in your products' names. Nothing positive comes to mind when hearing that word.

  • EEG as it currently stand won't do the trick.

    --Although, there was a Slashdot story a couple of days ago on room temperature superconductors [slashdot.org] which would provide the kind of technological leap necessary to make such a controller possible, (that is, if my understanding of sci-fi technology is correct, i.e. Brainstorm [imdb.com]) --And, if according the article, the superconducting medium can be pressurized to about ten million atmospheres. (Don't hurl your headset to the floor in frustration, or you might crack a gask

  • I played this at GDC (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @02:02PM (#22830970) Homepage
    I got to play with one of these at the Game Developers Conference [gdconf.com]. It can determine if you are being "meditative" or "focused." It was kinda neat, with two limitations:
    1) It didn't work at all one some people (me being on of them).
    2) The company says it is useless for games.

    It's funny that there is an article about this being for games, because the reps at the show said that it wasn't really useful for games, and they were instead looking into military and commercial apps. For example, using it to see if drivers are awake. Or if a pilot is in need of a stimulant. But as for games, you really can't change your mental focus while doing something else. In the demo game, the rep would move your character around for you and click on things because it wasn't realistic for the player to be in a "meditative" state while doing those things. And since the whole contraption can only measure one axis, it is a lot of complexity for very little value.

    It was a nice tech demo but there was only so much that could be done with it. It is definitely not the next big thing in gaming.
  • Mind gaming might be kind of fun, but one thing to remember is that it's not the same as traditional "control by thought" sci-fi/fantasy ideas. You don't think "lift rock" and the rock is lifted. You have to train your brain to connect a certain brainwave pattern with a lift command. It's not really that different from training your brain to press the B button when it wants to use a lift command.

    In fact, training your brain is significantly more difficult because we have no experience doing it. The brain is
  • Mind-control headsets control you!
  • 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..
  • I, for one, welcome our new mind-controlling overlords.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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