Sunday, March 11, 2007

Connecting Your Brain to the Game

A new set of variables for interface design ...

"Emotiv Systems, an electronic-game company from San Francisco, wants people to play with the power of the mind. Starting tomorrow, video-game makers will be able to buy Emotiv's electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps and software developer's tool kits so that they can build games that use the electrical signals from a player's brain to control the on-screen action.

Emotiv's system has three different applications. One is designed to sense facial expressions such as winks, grimaces, and smiles and transfer them, in real time, to an avatar. This could be useful in virtual-world games, such as Second Life, in which it takes a fair amount of training to learn how to express emotions and actions through a keyboard. Another application detects two emotional states, such as excitement and calm. Emotiv's chief product officer, Randy Breen, says that these unconscious cues could be used to modify a game's soundtrack or to affect the way that virtual characters interact with a player. The third set of software can detect a handful of conscious intentions that can be used to push, pull, rotate, and lift objects in a virtual world.

The notion of using brain activity to interact with computers isn't new. A number of schools--such as the University of Minnesota; University of California, San Diego; and Purdue--have research labs devoted to decoding thoughts from the brain and manipulating cursors on a screen, which is especially useful for disabled people. In addition, companies have cropped up in the past couple of years claiming to offer an effective brain-computer interface for video games or for biofeedback purposes. For instance, S.M.A.R.T. BrainGames, a company based in San Marcos, CA, sells games and EEG caps designed to treat people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder."    (Continued via Technology Review)    [Usability Resources]

Electro-encephalograph Cap - Usability, User Interface Design

Electro-encephalograph Cap

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