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NIA Brain-Computer Interface, Mind-Control Gaming 79

MojoKid writes "Sunnyvale-based manufacturer OCZ Technology has laid claim to being the first to bring a 'brain-computer' interface to the retail market and they have aimed it squarely at the gamer. The device is called the NIA, which is an acronym that stands for Neural Impulse Actuator. Instead of buttons, sticks, gyroscopes or motion sensors, it reads the body's natural bio-signals and translates them into commands that can be used to control PC games. This evaluation of the NIA shows the product actually works as advertised, with a little practice. It can, in some cases, offer reaction times superior to standard controllers, based on faster trigger response time, and the difference is quite noticeable and immediate."
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NIA Brain-Computer Interface, Mind-Control Gaming

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  • by TheCastro ( 1329551 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:56PM (#24281073)
    When this technology becomes readily available will it cause an unfair balance in online gaming? I mean look at the people who use multi-button mice to program in combos or weapons or whatever they need, or people who use keyboard short cuts; both of these are banned in some tourneys. I just think its something interesting to consider.
  • by cbnewman ( 106449 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @06:22PM (#24281287)

    This device appears to be measuring electical potentials generated by muscle groups in the face firing. I would think that a "brain interface" (or mind-machine interface or direct neural interface or brain-computer interface) at the very least should be driven directly by cortical neuronal activity (i.e. EEG, MEG), not the end muscle group.

    This seems like more of a gamer's application of electromyography []

  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @06:44PM (#24281505) Homepage

    I've been casually studying brainwaves and generally how the brain works for a couple of years. To see a device like this, that reads raw input regarding voltages/signal from the brain seems like something that will, as a lot of technologies in the past, only be launched as a video-gaming device.

    From there, and as the technology matures, we can probably expect a LOT more direct brain -> computer functionality (think "Strange Days" movie as an extreme, although that was based around an OUTPUT to the brain).. Remember that Star Trek episode where they had that game that you hooked up to the brain and you had to maneuver the flying discs into the hole (I might not be remembering it correctly)?

    Hopefully the NIA will be very closely monitored/tested as this type of technology gets more popular. Think about the people who modify their raw brain activity to calibrate these things - will it effect how they think when they're NOT using it?

    In closing, the last thing we need is a bunch of SUV swerving dorks on the road with one of these things strapped on, trying to call their husbands/wives via the "Mind recognition dialing" feature.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @07:02PM (#24281737) Journal

    Hey, when it comes to a brain/computer interface, the more the merrier. I'd like to see a story about this every day if need be, to get these products on the market, and not just from OCD (sorry, "OCZ").

    Man, when these things hit the market I got plans for them. If I can map one of them to control the virtual instruments in my digital audio workstation, I will be happening. Seriously, one of the severe shortcomings of the current MIDI controllers is that I just can't control enough parameters with just two hands and two feet. Lordy, if I could control the cutoff frequency of a filter or tempo or (heavens!) pitch, my wife could brick up the door to my little home studio and I'd die happy.

    Oh yeah, I'd like to play Team Fortress 2 with my brain, too.

  • by darkfire5252 ( 760516 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:49AM (#24285459)

    you can't just magically think "shoot that guy"

    Yep, the technology isn't there for that to happen yet. However, here's food for thought: the NIA allows you to bind key strokes to a particular neural pattern, which would allow you to think "shoot!" and have it shoot. Why not add an eye recognition device that would move the FPS view according to where you were looking?

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller