Control Video Games With Your Mind

A new video game controller has players use their brain’s electrical waves to control the action on screen.

Strap on the headset, free your mind, and jump into the next dimension of gaming.

Companies like NeuroSky and Emotiv Systems are developing consumer-ready products that translate brain activity into on-screen activity. Expected to start at around $130, such devices pick up the electrical signals zipping around your brain and send the information to a connected smartphone or other input device.

Like an EEG, these gadgets can only (for now) read the difference between simple concentrated and relaxed brain states, so don’t worry about them reading your thoughts. Users don’t have nearly the level of control that a simple joystick offers, and are limited to binary actions corresponding to relaxation or concentration. However, Emotiv Systems sells a package that has optimized popular games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty to work with their brainwave-reading device, and has a program that apparently allows the user to control a computer without a keyboard or mouse.

This technology could usher in a whole new industry of games and gamers. Unique mind-body educational games, mediation apps, and new kinds of puzzles are just the beginning. An entirely new audience (literally anyone who can think) is opened up.

Because the technology is not just limited to manipulating virtual worlds, this is not just a new way to play games. These devices have already been connected to real-world machines, making mental activity manifest in useful ways without invasive implants. With more development this could help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or patients physical disabilities, recover from afflictions and care for themselves.

NeuroSky / Emotiv Systems

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