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Brain/Computer Gaming Interface Coming in 2008 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-mom-no-hands dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Emotiv Systems today unveiled a brain/computer interface system with a helmet and software applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Project Epoc system can move objects based on a gamer's thoughts, reflect facial expressions, and respond to the excitement or calm the gamer mentally exerts, the company said....While Emotiv is not yet ready to announce any partnerships, [they] did say the product will be coming to market in 2008."
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Brain/Computer Gaming Interface Coming in 2008

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  • Well. (Score:1, Insightful)

    Ive seen studies on invasive technology on brain-digital connection, and it works the best, UNLESS it gets infected (often).

    Infection in the brain is bad.

    Well, how do they plan to hook up the player? Some helmet might work if the user shaves their head..

    It'll probably work as well as the Phantom Console (Vaporware).
    • Re:Well. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Broken scope (973885) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:22PM (#18271222) Homepage
      RTFA. This is not an invasive technology. Its a helmet.
      • Use your critical reading comprehension again, more closely this time.

        I said that "invasive technology on brain-digital connection, and it works the best".

        There's many scientists working on brain-digital interfaces so that handicapped people can do as the rest of us.

        What data can you gather from a helmet most likely sitting on hair? Guess what.. you dont get much at all.
        • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by venicebeach (702856) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:47PM (#18271452) Homepage Journal

          What data can you gather from a helmet most likely sitting on hair? Guess what.. you dont get much at all.
          Well, its EEG. EEG is a reflection of aggregate neural activity and can be recorded quite easily at the skull. Lab research on controling cursors and whatnot has been done before with EEG, but it is usually pretty crude control that one can gain even after extensive practice. As TFA says, "Anecdotally, the system seems to work best with children and others open to believing in their capability, according to Breen." In other words, the gullible tend to believe they are actually controlling things in the game.
          • Re:Well. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:38PM (#18271896) Homepage
            EEG is a reflection of aggregate neural activity and can be recorded quite easily at the skull...the system seems to work best with children and others open to believing in their capability

            I guess you could say it works better with an "open mind."

            Jokes aside, this seems like learning to control a body part. Children are constantly refining their internal models of motion as they grow and gain dexterity, so it makes sense that they would learn more quickly than an adult. People who suffer from nerve damage usually recover more quickly and more completely if they have self confidence. It's not mind-over-matter exactly, but those who believe they will fail likely will.
            • Call it lacking an open mind, if you will, but, by the sound of it, it sounds like a lot of work and a heck of a learning curve just to play a game. I thought the game designers were finally learning the idea that some of us just want to play a quick and unchallenging round of a game to relax, rather than have to spend a month just getting past the learning curve.

              And the most successful interfaces and peripherals are those who don't require much practice either. Take the mouse for example. I actually made t
              • by Ash Vince (602485)
                Call it lacking an open mind, if you will, but, by the sound of it, it sounds like a lot of work and a heck of a learning curve just to play a game. I thought the game designers were finally learning the idea that some of us just want to play a quick and unchallenging round of a game to relax, rather than have to spend a month just getting past the learning curve.

                You might, some of us on the other hand are obsessive compulsive players who will put in years playing the same game (Americas Army) in order to b
                • requires literally millions of hours You literally didn't do the math there, did you?
                • by tsalaroth (798327)
                  It's too bad they shutdown the project - I looked forward to installing the client on my new system.
                  • by Ash Vince (602485)
                    It's too bad they shutdown the project

                    Did they? Not accoring to this site here:

                    http://www.americasarmy.com/ [americasarmy.com]
                    • by tsalaroth (798327)
                      strange.. it was "offline" for over a year, and it didn't appear to be coming back.
                    • by Ash Vince (602485)
                      When? been up for the past 2 years as that is about long I have been playing.

                      Cant speak for before then obviously but during the past 2 I have played about once a week at least.
                    • by tsalaroth (798327)
                      The project website for downloading the client is what I'm referring to. Strange, maybe I was going to an old site or something?
                    • by Ash Vince (602485)
                      Thats what I meant too although I probably didnt make it clear.

                      They release a new version fairly regularly and I always download via their site. I also visit to read the forums and such.
        • You asked how they plan on hooking the player up. I gave you answer.

          Invasive may work the best but this is for a game, only an idiot would undergo an invasive surgery to play a videogame.

          I don't see this panning out for at least another 5 years. I agree with you, yes, hair would be a problem. Sorry if I came across as combative. My intent wasn't to be rude.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Zaatxe (939368)
        RTFA. This is not an invasive technology. Its a helmet.

        Hey, take it easy on the fellow dude... see how he writes, you can only presume he was a subject of these studies he talks about. See when he ways the connection often infects the brain? So, that's it. And judging by his signature, I can only assume he suffered some brain injury.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What is really ironic is the controller shown for this post is the first system to have such as device.

      The atari 2600 had it way back when...see link below.

      http://www.atarihq.com/museum/2678/mindlink.html [atarihq.com]
      • by witekr (971989)
        From that article:

        "Using the muscles in ones head, a person was to control the paddle at the bottom of the screen. Needless to say, people began to suffer from headaches as soon as the pace of the game started to quicken."

        That's quite a bit different than this product. Something a bit closer (and cooler) are the Wild Divine games. [wilddivine.com]
    • We've seen what happens when someone's bioport gets infected, it completely destroys your gamepod.
  • Danger! (Score:5, Funny)

    by svunt (916464) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:19PM (#18271190) Homepage Journal

    ...respond to the excitement or calm the gamer mentally exerts...

    I can't wait for an 'adult' game to kill someone with a feedback loop of excitement and stimulation. That would be awesome.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bendodge (998616)
      That's sick. Besides, this only accepts input from the human.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can't wait for an 'adult' game to kill someone with a feedback loop of excitement and stimulation. That would be awesome.
        That's sick. Besides, this only accepts input from the human.
        And what species were you planning to try multiplayer with?
    • Re:Danger! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @11:04AM (#18276222) Journal
      Judging from some of the people I've met while gaming online I'd say many would be ineligable for anything that required connecting to a brain.
  • Been there (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:20PM (#18271198) Homepage Journal
    I remember a freind who had a Sega Genesis? controller that slipped on your index finger and supposedly moved by thought. What turned out was it was really good at knowing which way you are moving your finger.

    Sorry, no links. The only thing I remember about it, it was around 1995-96 and I think I saw an add in gamepro for it.
    • I remember demoing something like that at Fry's. They told you to think of numbers/words to move a mouse on the screen. I never got it to do anything significant and was immediately told I was doing something wrong by the reps! Hopefully this will be better.
  • Ive saw this on TV 12 years ago. Back then it was VERY slow moving something with your thoughts. Even if it is faster with out physical feedback how accurate can it be? I doubt your going to be racking up the headshots with this.
  • by Bargearse (68504)
    I'll make sure to get one when they're released so I can play Duke Nukem Forever :)

  • by biocute (936687)
    If brain implant of microchips [wired.com] can do it in 2005, I'm sure it's trival with a helmet in 2007.
    • It's not trivial. The EEG signal at the scalp does not necessarily contain the same information accesible with an implanted microchip. The problem is that by the time you record at the scalp you are looking at activity aggregated across large populations of neurons. Not to mention that signal is filtered and spatially smoothed through the skull. If we could get information about what individual neurons are doing without opening someone's head neuroscience would take a huge leap forward. That technolog
    • Sure you are forgetting that in 2005 i had to have surgery to play games
      with mind controls,now i put on a helmet, quite a different approach
      won't you say?
  • Now (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rdickinson (160810) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:23PM (#18271232)
    Now when you say you cant get a game out of your mind, you'll be right!
  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:26PM (#18271252) Journal
    Emotiv Systems plans to target the Chinese pigeon [slashdot.org] market first, as many of the birds have already had the necessary equipment jammed through their craniums.

    Release titles include "GTA: Bread Crust", "Microsoft Flight Simulator 2007: Parked Lexus Alley", and of course the much anticipated "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Hideous Chinese Biolab Bay".
  • Let's do this reverse. The computer working the brain. We'll all turn into MS Bob. But at least with this I can learn perl in my sleep.
  • Sure beats an ergonomic mouse. But does this mean that I have to get an adapter for my USB bioport?

    Bio-ports were made fashionable by the Cronenberg film Existenz btw.

    "In the near-future, "eXistenZ" is the newest and greatest gaming experience from designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh). She meets Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a novice security guard, at a public preview of the new game. eXistenZ is part of an organic gaming system, the main console of which - the MetaFlesh Game-Pod (!) - is a living
  • brings mind control to games

    Sounds scary, doesn't it?
  • I love the skullcap glove. It's so bad!
  • by smash (1351) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:40PM (#18271380) Homepage Journal
    ... will this work through my tinfoil hat?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by quakehead3 (988738)
      of course not!
    • by VanessaE (970834)
      Probably not but give other slashdotters some time and they'll come up with a new hat to wear *over* the helmet. Of course, then you have to worry about someone picking up signals being broadcast off the interface cable.....
  • All my money is tied up in 3d goggles, flying cars and cryogenics.


    But thanks for playing and please accept this lovely home version of our game as a parting gift.

  • by JuzzFunky (796384) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:48PM (#18271470)
    Here is their homepage: http://www.emotiv.com/ [emotiv.com]

    Looks like they're looking for people to test their brain control devices on...
    http://www.gumtree.com.au/sydney/07/8397907.html [gumtree.com.au]
    • All participants will receive $20 to compensate their time as well as images of themselves in the headcap setup...

      Ok that's just awesome.

  • Biofeedback (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elmedico27 (931070)
    I didn't RTFA (this is /. after all) but it sounds a lot like the already existing technology of biofeedback. There's been a "game" out for a while called Journey to Wild Divine [wilddivine.com] that responds to the player's biological processes (heart rate, etc.) Supposedly, after extended usage, the player can actually learn to control those processes with the mind and therefore control the game.
    • by donaldm (919619)
      Biofeedback has been around for a very long time (I remember reading a popular electronics article about mid 1960's) however instead of training your mind to attain a certain "alpha" rhythm relaxed state you need to have to train your brain "waves" to change very quickly if you want to control a game and that is not easy. There is also quite a big difference between connecting finger clips to connecting a head set which may get quite uncomfortable over extended time. Either way you still need to train your
  • I for one welcome our Borg Overlords. Resistance is futile.
  • 3..2..1... (Score:4, Funny)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr@ho t m ail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:53PM (#18271530) Homepage
    vague pr0n use ideas begin now!

    TLF
  • They are called my hands, and they work very well, thank you.
  • Sounds good to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zorque (894011) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:54PM (#18271556)
    I've been using a system called bio-feedback that interfaces with the brain through a series of very small electrodes, sometimes as few as 3 (one on the back of each earlobe, and one on either of the hemispheres). It works by displaying your brainwaves in a way which the brain finds easy to understand, and forcing you to enter a certain frame of mind to control the program. This means the treatment is often done in the form of games. The games the treatment uses are usually very simple (for example, one called Space Race forces the user to relax and to concentrate in order to cause one spaceship to speed up and two others to slow down), but with enough electrodes in the right places, and with an (indeterminate to someone outside of the industry by myself, and probably varying from person to person) amount of training, I can see this coming to fruition in the near future. I really don't know whether 2008 is a realistic date, but it is coming, and sooner than a lot of you think. On a related note, the laptop in my therapist's office required that the electrodes enter a box, which output to a parallel connection, which they had to send to a parallel/serial adapter, then to a serial/USB adapter. Needless to say, it took me a while to trace the amalgam of cords sitting on that desk.
    • by Zorque (894011)
      (Sorry for the huge block of text, I forgot /. uses HTML and didn't add a line break tag in there.)
    • What you are describing is a long step away from the type of control you need to control a game. The sensors are just measuring the intensity of your brain activity, nothing more. Basically you have a single input channel with variable intensity, sort of like the gas pedal on your car. But in order to drive your car you need a wheel and a brake as well. Or if you are playing madden 07, you need input channels for left/right, foreward/back, throw, catch, etc, and all nearly at the same time. It is a ver
      • by Zorque (894011)
        The system I've been using (I'm not familiar with the name or who makes it, since I've been going to a therapist to undergo the procedures) actually does have a highly variable amount of channels of control; the example I gave was just the first "game" I had been subject to. Even that one, however -while its only purpose was to measure the amount of activity going on in a single hemisphere of my brain- had 3 separate levels of control, and through concentration and practice I was able to manipulate each of
  • I remember DOS games like Red Storm Rising that came with a keyboard overlay because you needed that many different commands. Heck, imagine how much easier it would've been to play games like System Shock if you could've issued commands by thought.

    Of course, this could be a problem in The Sims. I can see my wife accidentally screwing up in the game because she briefly thought about cooking dinner or playing with the dog. Of course, if her sims kept accidentally getting it on, then I would have a good signal
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Of course, if her sims kept accidentally getting it on, then I would have a good signal she was in the mood!

      Of course, if her sim-chick kept going next door to bounce up and down on the neighbor, you might not be so pleased about this particular technological development...

  • Those damn aliens are trying to take over humankind again using The Game [startrek.com]!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXistenZ [wikipedia.org]
    It is a odd movie.
  • by wframe9109 (899486) * <bowker.x@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:12PM (#18271686)
    What is one of the most important factors in judging the quality of an input device?

    The correlation between the users intent, and what actually happens.

    If a device cannot do what the user intends at an optimal level, then it is a poor input device, and will be doomed to fail.

    At this point in time, we don't have the technology to get a correlation between intent and what happens high enough to use consistently as an input device. When we do, it still will be a long way from the sort of complex controls required in the majority of modern games.

     
  • Not Only For Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Siker (851331) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:20PM (#18271754) Homepage
    With sufficiently precise brain wave monitoring it should be possible to detect very complex patterns. At the same time the user would 'learn' how to create certain patterns, just like how any person learns how to move their arms or blink. Eventually you could make your avatar run and jump without feeling a twitch in your legs - your brain knows what patterns are needed to make your avatar take actions.

    I can imagine this being useful for other things than games in the long run. This, of course, would be the more obvious Neuromancer style future where your control over the computer is almost entirely brain based. Once again, with sufficient resolution in a device like this one you could probably type at the speed you can think. You would be able to give 'voice commands' faster than you can talk. Need to view another object on your screen? Just think about it.

    The ramifications would be enormous. What if people could write a book in half the time simply because they were no longer constantly distracted by their own typing? Even further into the future when there is some kind of feedback device, maybe you would be able to 'feel' your way around data, rapidly moving through it at the speed of your thoughts. Perhaps you would ultimately be able to search faster and better than Google.
    • by Torvaun (1040898)
      Funny, I don't really feel like learning how to walk again just so I can do it in a video game. The other Neuromancer stuff you mention is pretty awesome, though, and would probably be a better way of exploiting this technology.

      And as long as we're talking about feedback:
      "I know kung fu."
  • by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:21PM (#18271760)
    The "wow" factor for the use of this technology by healthy people to play video games can't be denied (if, in fact, the device works as it says it does). My huge question about this, though, is why if the technology is so good, it hasn't been implemented to help people with neurological abnormalities better control the world around them. I'm sure many a quadriplegic would be ecstatic about the opportunity to control their wheelchair or utilize a mechanical arm to help feed themselves using a helmet and the "power of thought." Instead, it seems like the first application being touted is for video game control? That doesn't make much sense to me - I would think the medical market would be where the money is at AND the population most likely to adopt such a new technology without it having to be 100% accurate all the time.

    It makes me wonder if this is just a lot of hot air to get a company's name thrown around in places like Slashdot. Yay! Control video games with your brain! Then why is it researchers at the National Institutes of Health as recently as two years ago still couldn't get a similar technology to work with a level of accuracy greater than that of random chance just to tell whether a person was going to move their right or left arm before the motion actually took place? Oh, and those analyses were done with EEG, which involves the use of a skullcap with 30+ electrical leads stuck directly to a person's scalp with a special electro-conductive gel. I'm sure if that's required to make this "helmet" work, it probably won't go over too well since setting up a clinical EEG skullcap takes upwards of 10 minutes and can be rather painful, depending on how much hair a person has.
    • by Zorque (894011)
      I actually have seen studies in medical areas with similar technology. For one, direct-brain systems are implemented in things like cochlear implants, and soon may be used in "bionic eyes." Another related system I saw used a head-mounted camera to send signals directly to the tongue, allowing the vision-impaired to "see" objects in front of them, and even allowing a blind test group to navigate through a small obstacle course.

      Further, I've heard of several cases in which stroke victims or people who hav
    • by martyros (588782)

      My huge question about this, though, is why if the technology is so good, it hasn't been implemented to help people with neurological abnormalities better control the world around them.

      There may be a couple of reasons. First, the computer gaming market is a lot bigger than the quadriplegic market. Would you rather try to sell sell a $100 product to a million geeked-out gamers, or a $100K product to a thousand quadriplegics? If it makes a hit with the first million, you can bet that market's going to gr

  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:32PM (#18271850)
    On a TV show from the early 90's called "Beyond 2000" there was an episode that showed a lady hooked up to electrodes, controlling a computer character in a 3D environment by thought. I have often wondered where that technology had gone. With as fast as computer technology moves I thought it would have been here well before 15 years. I have Googled for info on that epidsode but can't find any.
    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      Have you ever watched Beyond 2000 as an adult? Every three minutes you can't help yourself from answering back when they make some optimistic prediction about the future by saying "yeah, and what COULD happen is that the technology never gets out of the prototype stage because its being developed my technical people who feel their work is too important to hire a marketing person, which is why I'm hearing about this on Beyond 2000 instead of seeing them on store shelves."

      Almost everything on that show, ever
    • I'm standing in a white coat shouting at you, and I'll tell you why later on.

      They took 45 minutes to give you maybe 15 minutes of actual material. Most of it was concept cars that you might otherwise have seen at a car show. Full of impossible or unmarketable vapourware, eventually the show degraded into a blatant marketing exercise.

  • No way this is even mildly accurate. It was all-but a breakthrough to do this with exposed brains and ECOG. The Moran lab at Washington University gets 2-3 degrees of freedom from that.

    No way they're getting more than 2 even after *long* training periods from EEG without using exotic (and accordingly expensive) components.
  • Combine this with the Sony's announcement today that PS3 will have a persistent online "street" where everyone will have an avatar and their own apartment, and it's basically the metaverse. Sweet.
  • StarCraft 2. Oh to be one with Kerrigan's Swarm again...
  • These guys are the real deal. I witnessed a prototype demo back in early 2006. In addition to developing an input device, they've also been using the thing to test video games under development: test where players are bored, surprised, learning, etc. Its really exciting stuff!
  • Proof of Suckage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popo (107611) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:03AM (#18272492) Homepage

    Excuse the troll-like subject title above, but if a neuro interface that could actually reflect precise movements and commands had been invented, the company would be running straight to the vastly more lucrative military market long before taking a look at home consoles.

    The fact that its coming straight to home consoles suggests that hype and hope will be the products primary market drivers.

    My two cents.

    • Maybe they just want cheap test subjects? What if the stuff isn't refined yet for military use but lacks funding?
  • by uf_RocketSurgeon (1073120) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:36AM (#18272714)
    I made a "brainwave joystick" as part of my graduate research in neuro-engineering. http://www.picobay.com/projects/2006/05/controllin g-video-game-with-brain.html [picobay.com] This is not new technology... it's been around for about twenty years now, but about every year or so CNN reports on it like it was just invented yesterday. It does have a high "gee-whiz" factor, but the reality is that the error rate is very high. There are thousands of neuroscientists working on brain computer interfacing at any given moment. What makes you think the first breakthrough is going to be for gaming? A more noble cause is to allow the paralyzed to control wheelchairs with mere thought and that hasn't happened yet (even an error rate of 5% is too high). Systems that are a little more accurate involve implanting electrodes in the brain. Unfortunately, scar tissue slowly surrounds the electrodes and the signals become weaker and weaker. Eventually after about 1 or 2 years the electrodes have to be surgically removed and placed in another location (and the patient has to be re-trained). So despite what the latest "future show" on the Discovery Channel may say, we are still a loooong way off from driving our cars with brain waves.
  • ... Google orders 100,000 units in order to monitor employees thoughts.

    The company responded with a statement announcing that the reason was to make sure they were not doing or thinking evil.
  • by GregPK (991973)
    So buying one when they come out. I really don't care what the cost. I've been wanting one of these for years to play my games.
  • FTFA: "[...] according to Breen."

    What? No one is concerned that we have a Mr. Breen in charge of research? Are they sponsored by a company called Black Mesa by any chance?

    Its only the beginning ...

  • while i am gaming. What if the interface picks up a strong one of those thoughts and messes up my game ?
    • by Tim C (15259)
      What if the interface picks up a strong one of those thoughts and messes up my game ?

      Then you would either have to learn not to think those things and to concentrate on the game, stop using the controller, or suck at using it.
  • It would better if they would work on perfecting the brain/mouth interface.
  • It's called "biofeedback"
  • The simple term for this technology is Psionics. Avionics is electronics concerning aviation, psionics is mind/machine interface. D&D got it wrong. What they can Psionics should be called Psychogenics. Or we could call it Protoculture. Hehe.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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