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Brain-Controlled Gaming Interface

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Some of you may have heard about this before: http://www.physorg.com/news134708559.html It's an EEG-type brain interface designed to be used as a gaming controller. I'm wondering how this could impact gaming in the near to medium term future? What kind of new gaming dynamics will be made possible through this? Will games be able to sense when you're bored or distracted, and then throw out some surprises to catch you off guard? Will we even be able to use such gaming systems for biofeedback, to improve our mental abilities -- to better focus our minds, for example? What other interesting things will be possible through this? I'm even imagining that if the system is developed to a high level of reliability -- as can often occur in the technologically competitive gaming industry -- then this type of interface could even be used to control real life machines. Perhaps one day battlefield weaponry? Comments?

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Emotiv has a Sydney office, so I've been lucky enough to see their product in action. We even got an evaluation unit to play with in my office.

My overall summary: It's crap. Really expensive crap. Maybe it will get better in the future...

They can measure several "emotional states" as well as picking up "cognitive thoughts". The former might be a measure of how "focused" you are, and the latter might be whether you're thinking about the action "push" or not. They've also had a bit of success inferring what your facial expression is.

If they refine the cognitive sensing stuff, we'll be able to play current games with it, but it would be really hard!

If they refine the emotional stuff, you might be able to do some things that you suggest. For example, they can measure "focus" which kinda seems to be how many things you're thinking about at once, so it could probably tell the game when you're getting distracted (In our tests it took a lot of concentration to get the meter to say anything but "distracted" though!).

The only thing that I can think of using it for, would be to copy your facial expressions onto your avatar, though that doesn't really affect game-play on it's own... and you can do that for much cheaper with a webcam and FaceAPI...

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I saw it in action at GDC, you can read my report here.

I still hope I can somehow try before I buy, or that at least the return policy is good cause I'm still somewhat skeptical of its real-world performance.

Still, it'll be almost a year of extra dev time since I last saw it for them to improve it - when did you test it Hodgman?

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Yea so that was even farther back than me. I'm willing to give it a shot when it comes out - tho not if there's any way I could end up stuck with a fancy headdress. I'm guessing they'd have some sort of kiosk demo stores can set up.

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One thing I keep going back to in my mind about the brain hardware is a more indirect affect on gameplay.

What I mean by this is that you could add to the regular game control with additional emotional response. For instance, if you detect a player is scared, you can do a number of things to heighten the mood or even bring a person back down by changing music, subtle color changes etc... or even say in a jedi type game, when it detects you are getting angry you might do more damage or your magic attacks might subtly change to a different form, or even if surprised, it could spark a defensive magic attack involuntarily. it's these type of aspects that make me want to develop for these types of devices, but alas, i need to finish my regular game before i can even think of extending it lol.

Anyway, my 2 cents, long time anonymous reader, figured i'd join in the discussions (too many forums to keep up with).

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You're absolutely right, and that was one of the things that they demonstrated at the GDC press conference this year.

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