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Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-hey-it's-real dept.

Input Devices 112

An anonymous reader writes "Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that. The Emotiv device has been garnering attention at trade shows and conferences for several years, and now the company says it is set to launch the Emotiv EPOC headset on December 21. PC Authority spoke to co-founder Nam Do about the Emotiv technology and its potential as a mainstream gaming interface." One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.

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Obligatory (0)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308784)

Does it work with Linux?

Re:Obligatory (2, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308864)

One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.

Early ones.

Not for many Windows computer users (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310990)

Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21

[X] I'm a zombie, you ignorant clod!

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30311752)

Does it work with Linux?

One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.

Early ones.

Um, yeah, i see the connection there my first-post-hanger-on-friend.

$300 is nothing for that level of coolness (1)

ZmeiGorynych (1229722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313352)

I'm getting it first chance I can.

Re:Obligatory (5, Funny)

declain (1338567) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308908)

Of course. Since it's gaming device, Linux enthusiast are their main market.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308922)

braincontrol. i dont think it means what you think it means.

Actually it does. (2, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309218)

Of course. Since it's gaming device, Linux enthusiast are their main market.

Actually, they are also targeted neuro- and psycho- scientist who might be interested in such a mass marketed, dead-cheap(*), over-simplified EEG.
The company provides SDK [emotiv.com] , which are also usable on Linux.

It's the exact same situation as with GPU, which are both consumer mass product for playing games (OpenGL & DX) *and* are interesting to scientist looking for cheap of-the-shelf parts (for OpenCL and CUDA).

(*) : The *device itself* is cheap. In order to unlock full access to all the data and let the scientist play with what they want, the free-as-in-beer SDK isn't enough and they have to pay for research SDK.
But still, the whole stuff isn't as expensive as medical-grade EEG installations.

Re:Actually it does. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309396)

They aren't targeting scientists. This is clear because it's scientifically useless until they're willing to supply raw data through the SDK. All it provides is their proprietary interpretation of the signals. This is beside the substantial performance issues.

Re:Actually it does. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309672)

They aren't targeting scientists. This is clear because it's scientifically useless until they're willing to supply raw data through the SDK.

I can see no reason not to hack the device itself, and figure out how to interpret its signals. I doubt they're encrypting them, and you could still figure out how to rip the results out of the driver's memory.

Free vs. Paid (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309828)

This is clear because it's scientifically useless until they're willing to supply raw data through the SDK. All it provides is their proprietary interpretation of the signals.

The FREE ( 0$ ) SDK provides only already-interpreted data - which is good enough for indie game developpers (They want an input device, not a complexe EEG machine. Give them inputs, not raw data. They just want a mouse replacement for games, they don't want to have to learn a neuro-psychiatrist's worth of neuro-physiology just to have "hands-free clicking").

The PAID Research Plus ( $2400 ) SDK provides full access to RAW data (so scientist can do whatever they want in addition to the default "convert signal into input trigger" behaviour of the free SDK. They wan't to analyse brain function, not merely have a thought-controlled glorified mouse button).

Emotiv are pursuing both market, although not at the same price point for the corresponding SDK ($0 to $500 for pre-processed data, $2500 for full raw data), because they hope interested research institutions have deeper pockets as small indie game developers.

If it gets popular enough, you can expect to see Linux USB support for RAW data very soon from research/developers disgruntled by their department budget allocation.

Re:Free vs. Paid (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310230)

Which is funny, the raw data SDK would take much less work than the free one to develop.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309474)

One thing is for sure, laptops are mainstream, pda are almost mainstream, so nerds have to find something else to look nerdy ;)

The real thing would be to use this to open windows, drive the TV, turn the lights on, read and send email...

How about update twitter:
"I'm feeling happy" of course you are, your brain reader measured it!

Re:Obligatory (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309222)

Also obligatory:

"I love the Emotiv EPOC headset, it's so bad"

Bypassing normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308800)

Given the little knowledge I have of neural network functioning, I would assume that using this gizmo can change your brain wiring in previously unknown ways. of course, any learning does it, too, but this is the first time you bypass the normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (a.k.a. senses and muscles). So, I'll just wait and see while more courageous guys will try it.

Re:Bypassing normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308986)

"Given the little knowledge I have of neural network functioning"

It seems it's even littler than you think.

Re:Bypassing normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309530)

Isn't the neural network just a series of tubes ?

Re:Bypassing normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (3, Interesting)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310432)

He isn't talking about some evil mind control, what he is saying is that when you learn and use your brain, connections change. Therefore, if you are trying to get the "up" motion on the keyboard down, there will be a change in your brain activity that will be reinforced by getting it right. So yes, he is right that using this device will change how things are working, but such change would be no different than learning to type in Dvorak or using a different controller for the first time. Nothing dangerous.

Re:Bypassing normal I/O mechanisms of the brain (1)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30312704)

Unless it's shocking you in the brain, it's not bypassing the senses. You're still looking at a screen.

Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308808)

Looks like it actually is approaching a reasonable number of electrodes, unlike other the bunch of other 'brain control' devices (a pair of electrodes on your forehead does not an effective EEG make). Still too few for any sort of fine control, but you might just be able to get 2d bang-bang direction control going with a large amount of practice.
Of course, if it costs something ridiculous, then it's probably easier to make your own [sourceforge.net] .

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (1)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309032)

Compared to the costs of getting all the components for the OpenEEG and piecing everything together, it's probably a better choice for most people to go with the Emotiv set. Besides, if you're not happy with an OpenEEG you only have yourself to be unhappy with, if you're bored with the Emotiv you can always send it back and demand a refund.

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309094)

From that site: "The cost of a complete system is 200 to 400 USD. The exact figure depends a lot on where you buy parts from, and whether you buy or make your own electrodes."

I'll take the one made in a factory ty very much. Nice thing is that these devices are (oddly enough) fairly simple. So even if they give us nothing making OSS/drivers off of the emotive device will probably not be a big problem.

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309140)

As someone who has done research int brain-computer interfaces, most BCI devices created for games are really measuring EMG, which is electrical noise created by muscle movements. A pair of electrodes on your forehead can only really effectively measure small muscle movements in your forehead.

On the other hand, this looks like a regular 16 electrode cap with one ground and one reference.

I wonder how they bypassed the need for gel...

By the way, $299 is actually a fairly reasonable price for a good cap. I wonder what the biological amplifier costs, though. If it is included in the price (or within the cap) then $299 really is a very good price for such a device.

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (2, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309214)

You can definitely record useful EEG data on neonates using forehead electrodes without gel. It's called a Cerebral Function Monitor [natus.com] . It looks like there is research in using it with adults [ccforum.com] too. These are mostly used in patients that are comatose or (medically) paralysed, so I suspect there would be issues with interference from motor nerve signals although these would have a very different pattern so I suspect could be filtered.

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309434)

The problem is that the EMG is so loud in comparison that it is impossible to filter out. To give an analogy, it would be like trying to listen to someone whispering across a room filled with white noise machines.

Re:Could be a half-decent toy, if priced well (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30312172)

I have the development release and the electrodes use cotton-like "wicks", which are wetted with saline. While I am not familiar with other EEG devices, this does not require an external amplifier, and is connected wirelessly to a USB dongle.

Conductant? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308812)

Back when I had regular EEGs a technician would spend about ten minutes squeezing conductive cream onto my scalp before clipping the electrodes on. If you don't use a conductive liquid your signal is going to have to pass through your hair, which doesn't sound good for their N/N ratio. So what's it going to be? Shaved heads or washing your hair after gaming?

Re:Conductant? (5, Interesting)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308852)

You don't need conductive gel at all. My graduation project was using EEG to allow disabled people to control a PC, and we did not use conductive gel, at all. Conductivity was very good.

Re:Conductant? (0, Offtopic)

mitashki (1116893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309366)

In Soviet Russia the PC controls the headset!

Re:Conductant? (2, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310122)

Missed Moment of Awesome. The correct Soviet joke in this case should be:

"In Soviet Russia, the Program controls the Brain through the Headset!"

Re:Conductant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310412)

In Soviet Russia the PC controls the headset!

Missed Moment of Awesome. The correct Soviet joke in this case should be:
"In Soviet Russia, the Program controls the Brain through the Headset!"

Nyet. Correct Joke about Soviet Thought-Controlled Awesomeness was stolen by Clint Eastwood in 1982.

"You must think in Russian [imdb.com] ."

Re:Conductant? (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309480)

Conductivity isn't the issue, noise is.

Re:Conductant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308894)

Back when I had regular EEGs a technician would spend about ten minutes squeezing conductive cream onto my scalp

Conductive cream? Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

Re:Conductant? (2, Funny)

djdevon3 (947872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309054)

We'll all get pin implants. It's about time we turned into an alligator clip society.

Re:Conductant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30311588)

Pins sticking out of your skull, going straight into your brain?

Two words: static electricity.

Re:Conductant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309100)

Two words: binding posts

Re:Conductant? (1)

vosester (1163269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309238)

That’s what we need at FPS LAN parties, A bunch of nerds showing up with skinheads.

Nia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308814)

This is not new, just recently there was the Nia

NIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308816)

Isn't there already NIA from OCZ? How is this different?

interesting (2, Informative)

dwarfenhoschi (1494927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308818)

It will be very interesting to see how this works out. It tested the last "Brain Control Device" (i think it was from a german company) at the Games Convention 2008 and was very surprised to see it working...with some learning of course.

Great video (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308820)

After watching the video, a very specific quotation comes to mind.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
- Andy Finkel

If you look at the hardware itself, there is a gyroscope attached. Hence, when the fat white guy wants to lift the stone, he leans his head back. I suppose you are to watch him wave his hands, but the real action is going on literally on his head.

Now if someone could build an iPhone app that can do this, we'd have all the same functionality at an even higher price!

just bad (0, Flamebait)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308890)

"If you look at the hardware itself, there is a gyroscope attached. Hence,"

Where oh where is the gyroscope? You can't fit one in that little red box.

Perhaps you are talking about ACCELEROMETERS? Besides, I see very little correlation between head movement and stuff happening on the screen.

And I just love it how you draw a completely spurious conclusion and then use the word "Hence" to use that bogosity to justify further bogosity.

Really you should try to get some sleep. It's pretty clear that your mental faculties are deprived.

Re:just bad (4, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308906)

Re:just bad (-1, Flamebait)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308998)

"Don't shoot the messenger, man."

---
"After watching the video, a very specific quotation comes to mind...."
"I suppose you are to watch him wave his hands"
---

You are NOT the messenger. YOU are the one who wrote these unsubstantiated words.

Like I said, get some sleep. You don't even understand your own words.

Re:just bad (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309210)

Are you stupid or what? The part where he is the "messenger" is in his link where he shows that the headset DOES in fact have a gyroscope, and not an accelerometer.

Re:just bad (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309226)

YOU are the one who wrote these unsubstantiated words

Errr. you mean substantiated words.. fixed it for you.

The diagram linked above, sourced from Emotiv, does indeed show the presence of a 'Gyroscope' (not 'accelerometer' though that is doubtless what it is). And if the headset has a movement sensor in it it is not unreasonable to suppose it is used for something.. It may well be the primary input; augmented with a little feedback/enhancement from a simple EEG system.

Looking at this I'd expect the 'Mind' part of the control to be pretty secondary to the other inputs this controller is getting.

Re:just bad (2, Informative)

gr3kgr33n (824960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311136)

This is a VERY old diagram. It shows how the design was intended 3 years ago.

If your going to cite diagrams, use one from the actual product. http://audivolv.com/emotivEpocMindReadingHelmet.jpg [audivolv.com]

As for previous comments on "conductive goo", the emotive epoc uses felt pads with a saline solution for conductivity. If you will notice, the owner and lead researchers are both women with thick, long hair and they have no problems using the device.

Linux support is in the works (Read: Drivers are under development); however, since their target is gamers, this is not their priority at the moment.

Re:just bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309080)

Please, don't embarrass yourself any further. Get some facts straight, okay? Accelerometer and gyroscope are two different things, but both chips are nowdays the size of your fingernail.

Re:Great video (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309296)

You would look rather silly with an iPhone or iPod touch duct taped to your head...

Re:Great video (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309580)

I don't think you were paying very close attention to the video, really. You can see that he is keeping his head pretty still during some of the moves. I believe the gyroscope is just providing locational information to the system.

Movies that the inventors don't want to talk about (-1, Offtopic)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308854)

Batman Forever
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

Re:Movies that the inventors don't want to talk ab (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309472)

This isn't actually off-topic, though it's not all that funny either. While I haven't seen the Spongebob movie, the other two both focus on high technology that integrates with the brain and is used for bad purposes. I assume the Spongebob movie has a similar plot device, though I suppose it's possible that the inventors have small children that watch the damn thing way too often and therefore hate it for other reasons. ;-)

Re:Movies that the inventors don't want to talk ab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309720)

Batman Forever

Also apt: "Movies that the viewers don't want to talk about"

Re:Movies that the inventors don't want to talk ab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310206)

We don't have the clarity or resolution to come anywhere close to surreptitiously scanning brains, however. Hell, we don't even know how the brain works beyond a rudimentary "this area does this, that area does that" level. These devices look for specific patterns related to very active thought processes. It also probably takes a good while to train them to pick up what you want them to pick up.

Re:Movies that the inventors don't want to talk ab (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310520)

"This area does this, this area does that" is pretty outdated. Researchers these days are focused more on interactions between regions, timing, etc. The problem with the old approach is that we start applying our human words ("Is this episodic memory here, or is that semantic memory?") to processes invented by mother nature that will not regularly fit into our definitions. In general, we are getting a better idea of how the brain works, but it isn't shedding as much light as we would like on how the mind works.

The release is perfectly timed (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308938)

By which I mean that purchasers won't have time to find out that it's a useless POS trinket until it's too late to return it. Nice.

NIA out for a year. (1)

Stratoukos (1446161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308972)

Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that.

Am I missing something here? OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator [ocztechnology.com] , a similar product, has been out since for about a year.

Re:NIA out for a year. (2, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30308994)

OCZ one doesnt work at all, or barely.

Re:NIA out for a year. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309190)

This one likely won't work either - or, at least, it'll just do EMG (electromyography) and pick up jaw clenches and blinks and whatnot.

EEGs are so contaminated with noise (both from the brain and from muscle movement) that pulling out single events is tricky. Studies that analyze EEG data usually have to average a lot of events together to get rid of the noise (ERP). There are a few ERP components (scalp potential changes) that are pretty well-known and usually prominent enough to maybe get on a single-trial basis (e.g., P300), but those easy-to-detect ones are pretty much all-or-none - in other words, no finely graduated control like an analog joystick.

I sorta read the article and the guy claims that this will 'find the sources in the brain' where activity originates. Source localization with, what, 8 electrodes, half of which are occipital? Mmmmyeah, that'll work great.

Save your $300 and buy a nice joystick.

another wasted opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30308990)

i can imagine using that as a complementary device.
playing an RPG (normal interaction via keyboard/mouse) and casting spells by thinking about fire would surely help the immersion. Getting better in imagining stuff for the spells could fit nicely into the skill progression of the character.

but such devices never get such cool usage. they get some waggle/natal/eyetoy shovelware and stop being interesting as the novelty wears off.

It was just another expensive toy... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309104)

but such devices never get such cool usage. they get some waggle/natal/eyetoy shovelware and stop being interesting as the novelty wears off
 
...until you lift that coffee mug, and your hands happen to be on the keyboard.

Niche product for now (1)

ensignyu (417022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309044)

It doesn't matter if it costs $300. I'm sure they'll be able to find people willing to pay that much as long as it's not complete garbage.

I mean, if you look at amBX, it's basically a bunch of glowy LED lights and a speaker system, and it runs in about the same price range.

Other software? (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309196)

How about BrainCoding? Anyone interested in writing code with your brain?

Oh .. over here. Pick me Pick me

High price tag? bah (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309216)

$299 is not a high price tag. I clearly remember any gaming console experience I wanted to try was *always* around the ~$300 pricetag, from the last two decades of even recently (Xbox360, PS3, Wii, etc.). The main points in any survival and success of a gaming system is: 1) NOT being a hyped up, terrible design and cumbersome usability, 2) It's unique and starts a mad, new and wild gaming experience that everyone wants to try (a la Guitar Hero/Rockband) because point #1 lived up to it's purpose.

Console not included (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309426)

The $299 only gets you the headset, not the computer or the console which it's intended to be attached. Think of buying something like a Guitar Hero guitar or a Wiimote at that price point, rather than a PlayStation or a Wii.

What will the finished product look like? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309272)

Right now, it's a squid from Strange Days, which won't have as happy connotations for everyone as a StarTrek communicator.

Re:What will the finished product look like? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310040)

Yes, all four of us who saw that movie (mind you, I own it on LD and again on DVD) will be spooked out, right? Wrong. That movie made me want a record-and-playback rig in the worst way, I don't care if they shot Me Phi Me in it.

Re:What will the finished product look like? (1)

dido (9125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310054)

The squids from Strange Days are essentially the same as the simstim units you see in William Gibson's Cyberspace Trilogy. Sensory output devices used for passive viewing. This is a crude version of the input system of a cyberspace deck, which is supposed to interact with the user's thoughts.

Misleading (5, Insightful)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309284)

Should be brain-controlled

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309960)

Unless the device actually controls you... Maybe a subtle hint...

As Penny Arcade put it... (3, Funny)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310394)

"Emotiv's Epoc mind controller device thing doesn't allow you to control other people's minds, which I think is a disappointment to everyone." (Here [penny-arcade.com] .)

There are also... power issues [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Misleading (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311936)

Should be brain-controlled

That's just what they want you to think ;)

Brain-Control Gaming Headset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309330)

is Yuri's favorite toy!

Other Applications (4, Insightful)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309556)

I'm a bit surprised (or maybe not) that the focus of the discussions has been on the gaming aspect of the device. I know it's not perfect, there are a lot of bugs to work out, and it's been around for a while, but I can see tremendous application and potential for this technology. This could provide quadriplegics with access to software, allow another interaction pathway for those with their hands occupied on critical tasks (pilots, surgeons, police).

I wonder how much the hand gestures were required to move the objects? I'm sure it's a way to "cognitively prime the pump" at this point, but could it be done without the gestures? Or could someone learn to do it without them?

Re:Other Applications (1)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310030)

That's specifically talked about in the article:

PC Authority: Many people must talk to you about making apps for people disabilities, particularly those lacking mobility. How do you see your company working in those areas?

Nam Do: We're already working with a lot of people, to make applications for disabled people. There are quite a few applications we're [already] seeing from independent developers just trying to create these things.

For example, some of these people can't even move. So things like the keyboard are very important. Just by thinking about it, they can put words together and start to communicate.

PC Authority: I think that's amazing. It's great to have the gaming part, but that could really transform people's lives.

Nam Do: Absolutely. Even though gaming has a lot of following, you don't realise that when you're talking about the community at large - a lot of the applications are non-gaming. Like medical or healthcare applications.

For example, university researchers and doctors are currently working on applications to treat depression and addiction - without drugs. It's a state of brain. You fall into it and stay in it. So now if you could predict that, you could have different brain exercises to keep you out of that mindset.

Re:Other Applications (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310616)

Thanks Metamechanical - I skipped the last couple of paragraphs of the interview. As a UI designer, I still think folks are getting a little tunnel visioned on this. To me, it's almost like saying the mouse can only be used for menu opening or something. I think there are a lot of possibilities here that we will soon discover.

Re:Other Applications (1)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311322)

It's a funny proposition, because I would think this would be just awful for gaming. Don't misunderstand - I'm sure they've put a great deal of work into refining the product. Sadly, something like this sits in a strange spot - the applications where it would be best suited aren't really huge growth or profit sectors, so even a successful technology would languish in those sectors, and take decades to develop. On the other hand, by gambling with the gaming market, especially during a period where console manufacturers are emphasizing alternate control schemes, you have the potential for large growth and profit. Unless, that is, it crashes and burns before taking off, which is sadly the fate of many great technologies with a lot of potential.

I don't profess to be an expert in their product or their target market, but given the history with similarly disruptive products, the immediate future looks troubled to me. Sadly, this may be a product before its time, only to be resurrected in a decade while everyone says, "Oh, that's so brilliant, I can't believe no one had invented that one before!"

But I'm also a cynic, so take it as you will

Re:Other Applications (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30312324)

I hope you're not right about that. I know within my field there is always a huge push to find the next greatest thing for UI interaction. So we now have touch screens, tabletops, virtual displays, etc. - there were some pretty amazing advancements @ CHI this year in that area. It seems like the trend is definitely going towards "embedded" interactions, certainly. I'm not sure how we can continue in that direction without embracing something along these lines. So, get ready to put on your VR contact lenses and charge up that embedded microprocessor in your cortex.

Stephen Hawking, for one. (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310708)

It seems like the frustrating lag between thinking it and being able to "type" it out with less and less mobility would be greatly reduced with something like this. I think it's a *huge* contribution on the part of this company if the scientific community, for example, can continue to make use of Stephen Hawking's brilliant mind as his motor function continues to deteriorate. Which is, of course, to put aside the obvious implications for communication by others in physically incapacitated states.

Re:Stephen Hawking, for one. (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310988)

That's spot on. Something I keep coming back to but haven't really been able to formulate is the use of a device like this for patients who are "comatose". There was recently an article online (ref?) about someone who had come out of a supposed coma after several decades. He stated that he was frustrated to the point of despair because he was unable to communicate while "trapped" in his body (IIRC - there was some controversy on that). Could we use this to technology to communicate with such people? I imagine the EEGs would have to differentiate between an actual coma and these cases. But if they could be identified, perhaps someone incapable of physically moving at all could be taught to use this technology to communicate to the outside world.

Re:Other Applications (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30312116)

That was my first thought actually. One of my closest friends growing up was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and is now bedridden with absolutely no muscle movement capability at the age of 23. He has been watching TV for about a year now and, while most of us try to visit him as often as possible, living 200+ miles away makes that difficult. I can only imagine the hellish boredom that kid goes through to pass the time. That being said, a cap that he could wear to play video games would at least give him one more thing to do....

....

Fuck neurological diseases...

If this really worked for WoW (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309566)

...it would probably automatically zoom to 3rd person, remove all armor/clothing, and hold at just the right angle for fapovision for all the guys playing night elf/bloood elf females.

Only your mind... and lots of gesturing. (1)

astat (959047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309588)

There are two videos embedded in the linked article.

The first one is an utter fail, leading to moments of awkward silence during the official presentation.

The second one shows a guy performing simple taks: Moving a block into a certain direction. He does so not without making use of appropriate gestures: He either pushes imaginary obstacles away with his hand, lifts them up, or rotates them by circling his finger (block starts moving after 5 seconds or so)...

The system surely has potential. As of now, however, you can obviously pull off but a few simple stunts with high latency. The device is a gimmick, with a high-end price tag. A lot needs to be done in terms of calibration and fine-tuning to the specific user, which is probably possible; some day. The december release is a joke.

Re:Only your mind... and lots of gesturing. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310110)

Worse, the second one looks suspiciously like a demo that wasn't even that well timed. If the device actually works, one could make an argument that the gesturing could be mostly for the sake of the video presentation and not actually required, because if the game had been purely mind-controlled, it would have looked even more like a rigged demo than it did in the video.

Even cooler potential (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309670)

If you're already going to be wearing a funny headset, why not combine it with Johnny Lee Chung's [johnnylee.net] head tracking technology and make the ULTIMATE gaming device (assuming the tech works...)

what about Stephen Hawking? (1)

plaukas pyragely (1630517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309682)

I wonder why he hasn't got anything like this yet. He's probably not into gaming, but it might help comunicating ;)

Re:what about Stephen Hawking? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310322)

He's been offered better voice boxes many times, but declined as the one he's using now (and has for a long time) is part of the phenomenon Stephen Hawking.

Re:what about Stephen Hawking? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310904)

I think it would only be accepted by him if it came with a robotic exoskeleton.

Be carefull. Access to raw EEG would cost $7000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309722)

I looked at their website regarding license and price. If you want to have access to raw EEG, it would cost you $7000.

Wife Ammo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309806)

My wife already makes fun of me when I wear a headset....can't imagine what she would say if I wore this...

I have something similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30309856)

The ocz nia was the big thing last year with similar hardware (one less front sensor if i remember..): , and I tried it out in Call of Duty 4...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPfYDCNoy1c

The problem with them I found over time was that the calibration, or setup time was too long. It could take 5-10 minutes to get your mind for a lack of a better word, going well enough to get a good consistent enough reading. And the more commands you have mapped to your brainwaves, the harder you have to focus too - after 4-5 commands worth, you really need to focus a lot.

Good to see how their driver software goes - OCZ's software was excellent, although because it is wired, it has the problem of not being grounded properly.

Everyone who buys this will love it! (2, Funny)

Bocaj (84920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30309898)

Really, everyone wearing one of these will swear,

"Emotiv is the greatest company ever. I love all of their products. I am mortgaging my house to purchase more of their products. Emotiv is my friend. Emotive is good."

us customers only bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30310384)

us customers only. i hope they die from cancer.

Everytime I Jump in Halo..... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310814)

Memories of "special time" with my pervy uncle flood back into mind, can I sue the company for emotional damages?

You mean you have to use your hands..... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310860)

That is a like a Baby's toy.....

This is what they were talking about in Back to the Future part II....

Best Pocket Pool device (1)

OCURServant (1526983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30310998)

Uhh it will make you a better pocket billiards player for sure!

Beware the Gaming Zombies... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311022)

It used to be somewhat creepy to try to talk to a gamer engrossed in play because they are usually slack jawed and drooling while their hands were mashing buttons at a million miles a minute, now it will be even more creepy as they just sit there and play the game and they aren't moving, just sitting there like lumps on a log with jaws slackened and playing a game....

Just what we need, more zombie like gamers.

Lawsuit coming in 3...2.... (3, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30311878)

I looked into creating such a system a few years ago. After a bit of research, I decided I wasn't that brave -- certainyl the technology existed even then to do it, but here's what I ran into: requiring a person to learn (via biofeedback) to force certain brainwave patterns, and to repeat them often and for long periods of time, is not necessarily a Good Idea. What research I could find at the time showed that there may be potentially negative effects (inducing epilepsy was one such, in people who had no prior history). But more than that, I mostly found a huge unknown - there were few real studies on how this could affect a person.

Until such a device can interpret thoughts as we have them, without requiring the user to "think" certain patterns... I think I'll hold off on buying mine.

Angelic Layer (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30312546)

One step closer to being able to play Angelic Layer.

I claim dibs on the electric shock whips!

ADD therapy with this device (1)

wolfguru (913659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313468)

I am wondering if the included software will allow for EEG "band-specific" information to be derived from these devices. My daughter has ADD and could not use medications due to the severe side-effects she experienced, so we worked with some pioneering folks in the treatment uaing direct EEG bio-feedback training. Simplistically, ADD is a neurological condition where the active, cognitive brainwave activity found in most people is essentially "drowned out" by a typically lesser "volume" band of brainwave activity. "Beta" brainwave frequencies normally increase in intensity when concentrating, and "Theta" decrease in "normal" people. For ADD people, the theta band increases significantly with concentration, and essentially disrupts the beta activity of concentration. Through the biofeedback which helped my daughter to increase beta activity and lower theta, or at least significantly control its increase, she developed much better ability to concentrate and focus at will, and the common negative behaviors associated with ADD diminished or dissappeared. If this device offers the ability to track and display the core "bands" of brainwave frequencies commonly associated with the different types of activity, it could place this level of reinforcement of the "cognitive" frequencies in reach of many people that otherwise might not have the benefit. I'd certainly enjoy using it for gaming myself, and just for the experimentation value - I see daydreams of remote telepresence with a brain-controlled robotic surrogate and lots of other possibilities. The benefit that my daughter was able to recieve from the recognition and self-regulation of the neurological patterning of the ADD was so life-changing for her that I would very much like to see this available at such a reasonable cost compared to the therapy sessions she required. Obviously, this is nothing to do without proper direction from a therapist with experience, but the daily practice at home and as needed could d4efinitely improve the effectiveness for those that can benefit from this treatment.
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