The next game controller–your brain?

A “headset that uses a set of sensors to tune into electric signals naturally produced by the brain to detect player thoughts, feelings and expression… Project Epoc now makes it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player’s mind.”

Yowsa.  This is real!   Strange Days ahead!  (not for the young or the squeamish, btw)

So they’ve just announced Project Epoc this week at GDC – nice splash! – and you can apparently try it out there.  Anyone there have a comment for us?

An image from their site:

And some from GDC:

Here’s the ZDNet article,  The next game controller–your brain?Some highlights:

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 displays, the company said.

Sensors in the helmet pick up on electric signals in the brain. The system software analyzes the signals emitted by the brain and then wirelessly relays what it detects to a receiver. The receiver is plugged into the USB port of a game console or PC, according to Randy Breen, Emotiv’s chief product officer.

As with handwriting or voice recognition, the machine itself has a learning curve, improving as it better understands what the player is thinking, but there is also a skill level involving visualization on the part of the gamer.

“We have had a number of kids try the equipment, and they often get the best results right away,” Breen said. “Part of that is because the kid doesn’t have the same kind of barriers as an adult does. Lots of kids can fantasize about moving a cup (telekinetically) and believe it.”

Adults, on the other hand, are more definitive in their thinking and thus have a barrier to believing that they can do something out of the ordinary, Breen said.

The helmet shown at the show is only a prototype to demonstrate to game developers what can be done with the technology. While Emotiv is not yet ready to announce any partnerships, Breen did say the product will be coming to market in 2008.

In conjunction with Project Epoc’s debut, the company launched a kit for game developers Wednesday. Emotiv also announced that it is developing its technology for use in other industries, including medicine, security, market research and interactive television.

Here are some highlights from the company’s press release:

Emotiv has created the first brain computer interface technology that can detect and process both human conscious thoughts and non-conscious emotions. The technology, which comprises a headset and a suite of applications, allows computers to differentiate between particular thoughts such as lifting an object or rotating it; detect and mimic a user’s expressions, such as a smile or wink; and respond to emotions such as excitement or calmness.

Emotiv’s founding team includes Allan Snyder FRS (co-founder), an internationally-recognized scientist, inventor of the theory behind optical fibre and a winner of numerous awards, medals and fellowships, including the 2001 Marconi International Prize; Neil Weste (co-founder), a pioneer in chip design and founder of Radiata Communications which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2001 for approximately A$500 million; and Tan Le (co-founder and president) and Nam Do (co-founder and CEO), both award-winning technology entrepreneurs and former founders of SASme, one of the companies responsible for the creation of Australia’s and South East Asia’s SMS application market.

Here’s the company website for Emotiv

Here’s the product info page for Project Epoc

Here’s the For developers page with more details

Photogallery from GDC 


One thought on “The next game controller–your brain?

  1. OMG says:

    This is insane! I’m all for fun games you can play over your computer or console but this is madness. If im gonna wear a brain harness to have fun, I’m just going to use my own brain and go outside and play games with my friends this is crazy!

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