Generation: Gamerz Time to Jack Into the Matrix? Mind-Controlled Gaming?

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Matrix Trilogy featured a virtual world that could only be accessed through the utilization probe that interfaced with the central nervous system of the user.  The idea seemed feasible, but lightyears away.  In reality, the basic hardware has long existed, but until the technology was not easily accessible to the public.

The brain is made up of about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, which emit an electrical impulse when interacting. The headset implements a technology known as non-invasive electroencephalography to read the neural activity,” said Tan Le, president of Emotiv Systems, the US/Australian firm that is manufacturing the device.

Emotiv EPOC Gaming Headset
The Emotiv EPOC is a brain-computer interface.  The headset translates electrical impulses from the brain converts them into a data stream that can be understand by a computer, and in turn can be used to control any videogame.

Although the technology has existed for some time, Ms. Le was quick to point out the EPOC low cost and simplicity.  "This is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and does require gel on the scalp.  It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars."

The EPOC can measure discreet emotional states, conscious thoughts, and identify facial expressions in real-time, for a total of 30 different inputs: “excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis)”.

In addition, the EPOC has a built-in gyroscope to detect movement and has wireless capabilities to communicate with a USB dongle plugged into a computer.  Emotiv Systems is offering the Software Development Kit free on their website.  You can find download it here.  This kit can be used by anyone to develop software which will interface with the EPOC.


The potential for such an interface is great, as Ms. Le explains.  "The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games.  If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous.”

Emotiv Systems is taking pre-orders for the $299 EPOC, which the company is projecting will be released in time for the 2008 holiday season.

Source: BBC News  


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