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OCZ Prepares Neural Impulse Actuator for Shipping 193

An anonymous reader writes "Technology review site Overclock3D has received word that OCZ Technology is putting their neural impulse actuator (NIA) into mass production for shipping next week. The device, aimed at gamers, works by reading biopotentials. 'These include activities of the brain, the autonomous nervous system and muscles — all of which are captured using embrace sensors located on the NIA's headband, amplified and sent to the PC via USB 2.0.' Users of the NIA will be able to control their in-game movements using only the power of mind. The device is priced at around $600USD"
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OCZ Prepares Neural Impulse Actuator for Shipping

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  • by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:50AM (#22614428)
    No No No.... "reaction times can be cut by anything up to 60%" I don't care about reaction times. I care about my wrists. Frag gaming, just let me move my mouse for more than an hour without painful twinges and numbness.

    Also, these idiots are missing a revolution here. I believe that something like this device coupled with HUD glasses will be a revolution as large as the mouse and GUI were back in the day.

    Right now I am coupled to my computer. It got better when I got a laptop. Now my computer comes with me. Still though, I have to take it out, sit down, and while I'm using my computer I'm stuck staring at a screen and using a keyboard/mouse. The "Mobile" in mobile computing only counts when you're not using your computer.

    Imagine if you didn't even have to take out your computer.

    Leave your computer in your bookbag or pocket. Put on your display glasses so you can see your "screen" hovering in your view. Use a headband (perhaps hidden in your hat) to control the interface (and perhaps one day type). Use speech recognition to type and control.

    No more hands. No more being chained to your computer. This frees us as much as the mouse/gui freed us, and will pave the way to opportunities I can't even imagine....

    And these idiots are touting it as a gaming gimmick. Not even one mention of UI possibilities. Sigh.

    I want my Shadowrun Comlink. The future is staring at us and people aren't even paying attention.

  • My friend (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Smordnys s'regrepsA ( 1160895 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:10AM (#22614484) Journal
    My friend did his thesis on using (basically) this system to help invalids participate in the world, about 10 years ago. According to him, at first everyone can raise or lower all their brain waves at once, and within a month can raise or lower a specific wave. At first for it to be accurate, you need to have the system read muscle movement for facial tics, but gradually you can phase out this input as the patient becomes more adept at controlling his mental state. The hardest part of writing his thesis was getting time with the equipment.

    Forget about games, this being mass-produced is a great step towards turning the handicapped into the handicapable .

    Also, look for the New Agers gobbling this stuff up for their meditation ceremonies.
  • by garlicbready ( 846542 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:10AM (#22614486)
    I'm not disabled myself
    but the first thing that comes to mind with one of these things
    is if it could be used to control motorized missing limbs?
    wikipedia mentions neural interfaces that connect directly to the brain []

    if you could carry a laptop around with one of these little boxes
    it might be a bit more convenient (and perhaps safer) that having direct brain implants
    with enough time and miniaturization you might even be able to get feedback
    not to mention the 6 million dollar coolness factor (plus tax)
  • Not April fools... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:12AM (#22614494)'s real, and it's a very old idea. Atari created a very similar device [] 25 years ago. It was crude by today's standards (you very nearly had to move your eyebrows for it to register movement) but it did work. Atari had working prototypes at a CES in the early 1980s--people could play pong and breakout with the "mindlink". It was a crude form of the very same technology used here, though it was much less sensitive and required a bit of muscle movement for it to pick up neural impulses. The technology was developed for myoelectric prosthetic limbs and has matured greatly since those days.

    Atari's MindLink controller was never released to production though...testers often experienced tension headaches after using the device for extended sessions and it was not very precise. Beyond pong and breakout and other simple games it was not very effective because users had trouble coping with more than simple linear control. Also, furhter refinement of the product was abandoned as this was around the time of the Tramiel takeover (and Tramiel was known not to ever be enthusiastic about the potential of home video game consoles vs. low cost home computers) and the big console industry shakeout made for a lot of vapourware from all industry players.

    Certainly with increased processing power and better sensor technology in the past 25 years there could be much more potential in such a device, especially for those who have physical disabilities that prevent them from effectively using keyboards and mice. This isn't April fools or even a new idea, and it employs passive sensors (they do not transmit neural impulses--only detect the ones you generate) so a "blue screen of death" won't really kill you, and if you get a good fragging it won't fry your brain (the feedback is only visual--what is on the screen).
  • Re:April Fools!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:24AM (#22614534) Journal
    I actually saw something like this at CES '07. It was able to tell the difference between "relax" and "concentrate", for instance. They had it hooked up as a Half-Life 2 modification. If you concentrated, the things under the cursor would start to explode. Relax, and they would start floating around your head. It was pretty cool to watch, but it's not something that would be useful for playing most fast-paced games.
  • by Emil Brink ( 69213 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @08:01AM (#22614896) Homepage
    How can the product be an actuator, and consist of sensors? Aren't those like ... opposites? Am I just being old-fashioned in thinking of the device as a sensor, used by the computer, to detect brain activity? Is a joystick also an actuator?
  • Re:April Fools!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @10:11AM (#22622888) Journal
    You know, almost 17 hours before this was posted, my wife's uncle had a stroke. Should he survive he likely will never talk again and his motor skills will be poor enough that typing will be labor intensive for him. All I can think is WOW, this is only $300, and would have been 10 grand just 5 years ago.

    I'll be buying one, but not for games. Even if Ken doesn't make it, I think there is promise in a software app to use this for limited communication (teach limited words: yes, no, hurt, cold, hot, help, hungry, thank you, love you, etc.; then grow into sentence building, ala Hawking's setup).

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.