We’ve covered the development of mind control interfaces a little, and Spiraltwist trailed the device that looks like it will be first to reach the market – the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset. A few more details have started to surface, which I thought it might be worth noting.
Release date is provisionally set at Christmas 2008, with a price tag of $299.
The headset is constructed of 16 nodes spaced around the head that detect the EEG patterns emitted by your brain, which are then processed and recognized. Unlike regular EEG scans that require the electrodes to be glued directly to your head, Emotiv has a “patented material” that lets the nodes simply rest against your skull with no adhesive required. You have to train the headset to recognize what kind of thought pattern equates to a certain action. Thoughts picked up by the headset include moods and feelings as well, as your brain signals your muscles to perform certain actions.
The headset has three main Suites:
The Affectiv Suite – Monitors players’ emotional states in real-time, providing an extra dimension in game interaction by allowing the game to respond to players’ emotions.
The Cognitiv Suite – Reads and interprets players’ conscious thoughts and intent and can differentiate between multiple conscious thought commands. The Cognitiv suite reads the player’s thoughts and intent, such as lifting an object, and sends commands through the API to levitate the object in the virtual world. (A demo application demostrated: lift, drop, push, zoom, left, right, rotate CW (object), rotate CCW (object), rotate left (player), rotate right (player), rotate backward, rotate forward and dissapear (object).
The Expressiv Suite – Uses signals measured by the neuroheadset to interpret players’ facial expressions in real-time. The Expressiv suite provides a natural enhancement to game interaction by enabling game characters to mirror the reactions and expression of the player in real time, including complex non-verbal expressions.
via Don’s Blog:
Emotiv’s headset is wireless (well, yeah) transmitting via a 2.4-GHz wireless channel to a computer or game controller via a USB dongle.
A development of the Cognitiv Suite going by the name of EmoKey lets you map your thoughts to keys, potentially enabling game play (like World of Warcraft) and standard applications mapping – such as web browsing and avatar contol in Second Life.
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.
While Emotiv´s headset contains 16 sensors, NeuroSky´s has one, however NeuroSky has existing partnerships with Sega Toys Co. in Tokyo and Musinaut in Paris, an interactive music technology maker that allows users to control the music they hear in a headset based on their thoughts and mood.
EmSense, also in San Francisco, offers technology that focuses on business uses, according to its Web site. It also makes a headset that monitors a person’s neurological and biological impulses to measure the effectiveness of advertising and political speeches.
Another company, Interactive Productline in Sweden, has a game called Mindball, which isn´t a video game, but uses mind control technology that may lead to video mind-gaming. Two players sit across from each other at a table, focusing on a small white ball. The objective is to make the ball roll toward your opponent and away from you, using only your mind. Headbands measure the players´ alpha waves, and the ball rolls away from the player with the calmest mind.