Monday, March 12, 2007

Mind Controlled Video Games

By Ben Ames,
PC World

Video game players might soon use their thoughts instead of joysticks to control on-screen characters, if they wear a helmet released Wednesday by Emotiv Systems Inc.

The "Project Epoc" headset looks like a bicycle racer's helmet, but instead of protecting the skull, it detects the brainwaves inside it, using technology similar to electroencephalography found in medical settings.

Emotiv, a privately-held startup firm in San Francisco, has applied the technology to video games with the company's first product, the Emotiv Development Kit (EDK). The kit allows game developers to attach dozens of thoughts and emotions to the actions in their virtual worlds, Emotiv said.

A game designed with EDK could allow players to move objects on the screen without touching a keyboard or joystick, make the character smile or wink when they do, or require a human player to stay calm so his character does not panic and reveal a hiding place in a stealth game.

The headset is tuned finely enough to distinguish between a player's mental commands to lift a virtual item or to push, pull or spin it, Emotiv said. That could allow gamers to experience telekinesis, moving objects with their minds instead of their muscles like Star Wars' Jedi knights.


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