October 8, 2008 With many people probably thinking that computer games are a sedentary enough pastime as it is - with the possible exception of the Wii - the prospect of games that don’t even require the lifting of a finger to operate a controller might not be great news for parents hoping to get their couch-bound prodigies moving. That hasn’t stopped “wearable” consumer bio-sensors manufacturer, NeuroSky, Inc., demonstrating a brainwave-controlled video game At the Tokyo Game Show 2008 in Makuhari, Japan, on October 9 and 10. The technical demonstration based on a new game concept being jointly developed with Square Enix Co., Ltd. featured the NeuroSky commercial headset, dubbed the MindSet, operating in conjunction with Windows PC machines.
Like the Emotiv Systems interface we encountered earlier this year, the recently introduced MindSet resembles a pair of headphones. It incorporates a single electrode contacting the user’s forehead while reading the player’s brainwave information, or EEG data. The headset registers the current state of relaxation or concentration of players, allowing them to perform a variety of actions within the game. Although demonstration was carried out using Windows based PCs, the MindSet is also capable of interfacing to a variety of gaming platforms, including console and mobile platforms.
Ryutaro Ichimura, Producer at Square Enix said, “Although the main purpose of the demo is to test the results of our short development period, I hope it also unlocks new potentials in gaming”, while Stanley Yang, the CEO of NeuroSky, considers the joint development with Square Enix as further validation that brainwave-reading (EEG) technology is rapidly emerging onto the video game scene. “The market has been anticipating the introduction of this technology for many years, and the reality of controlling features of a video game through mental control is finally taking root”, he said.
The Wii has proven that a simplified user interface has the ability to open up computer games to a whole new market of gamers, so the introduction of brainwave controlled games that don’t require the dexterity and need to learn a myriad of buttons could take this even further and reveal the joy of computer games to an even wider demographic.
The MindSet is currently only available to NeuroSky’s OEM customers.
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