Print 17 comment(s) - last by KristopherKubi.. on Feb 26 at 1:01 PM

NeuroSky Chief Technology Officer KooHyoung Lee, left, worker Cynthia Lee and software engineer Horance Ko model some of NeuroSky's cool headsets to the press in San Jose, Calif.  (Source: AP)

In a very over-the-top, but nonetheless entertaining demonstration, a NeuroSky worker, dressed as Star Wars character Darth Vader, controls a lightsaber, turning it on using NeuroSky's mind control technology.  (Source: AP)
Move over Wii -- NeuroSky continues the controller wave of the future as the second company to solidify plans for a 2008 brain controller launch

OCZ's mind mouse seemed revolutionary at CES '08, but now by the looks of things it better hurry up and release its product or be left behind in 2008.  Following fast on the heels of the announcement from Emotiv that it will bring the brain-input "The Epoq" to consumers late this year, rival firm NeuroSky Inc. announced that its similar headset, "MindSet" was released to wholesalers, and will soon be in consumers hands.

Both Emotiv and NeuroSky have been crafting their products for some time now, but it looks like NeuroSky may beat Emotiv to the market.  NeuroSky, based out of San Jose, Calif., will sell the headset for approximately $50 per unit to wholesalers.  The device communicates wirelessly with game consoles, cell phones, and PCs.  A more complex prototype of the unit, a model for future editions dubbed "Project Millenia" popped up at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week.  Aside from brain control, it also featured surround sound headphones to complete the experience, a nice extra perk for gamers.

NeuroSky already has existing contracts with Sega Toys Co. in Tokyo and Musinaut in Paris for the device.  Musinaut plans to put the device to work in an interactive music technology that controls a user's music based on their thoughts and moods. 

NeuroSky's device also uses EEG technology, like Emotiv's unit, but the initial version is slightly simpler in implementation with fewer options in gaming.  Gamers will be able to control such actions as “lift,” “move,” and “burn" with the device.  A demo video from a Discovery Channel special can be seen here.

Stanley Yang, CEO of NeuroSky compared the device's use to Tiger Wood's focus on the golf course, stating, "We want to support the fourth-dimension in the gaming experience—incorporating the mental states of the player. When Tiger Woods hits a golf ball, there are certain mental preparations that he undergoes. We can build these aspects into the virtual game, as well!"

The device utilizes NeuroSky ThinkGear-EM technology.  Last year NeuroSky released its "MindKit SDK", a development environment where programmers can design controls based on the device to provide unique and flexible applications.  NeuroSky plans on releasing an updated SDK, "MindKit-EM", based on the ThinkGear-EM technology in March 2008.

Mr. Yang feels his company's product is easy to develop for and has a strong consumer appeal.  He states, "We looked at market research data about what would attract the general gaming population to not only use, but to purchase a brainwave-controlled headset.  Of course, pricing is always important, but other challenges faced by NeuroSky were that its products had to be simple to wear, aesthetically pleasing and have a ‘near zero´ learning curve. We kept it simple to encourage greater rates of adoption. Most people have never heard of this stuff, let alone used it. Unlike our competitors, we focused on simplifying the technology to its most basic element—a single sensor."

NeuroSky even believes that the device may be able to help cure ADHD in children -- no drugs necessary.  According to NeuroSky, MindSet can allow children to play games to teach their brains to be calm.  Once children afflicted with ADHD perfect the art of mind control, they should be able to apply this to the rest of their daily activities, including school and athletics, according to NeuroSky.

Exactly how much fun the brain-controllers are remains to be seen, but with a flexible SDK and an on market product, NeuroSky's announcement is certainly exciting news for gamers and fans of high technology.  Expect Emotiv and OCZ to not be far behind, truly making 2008 the year of electronics mind control.  

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By 67STANG on 2/25/2008 4:29:29 PM , Rating: 3
Does it come budled with Virtual Valerie?

RE: But...
By eye smite on 2/25/2008 4:36:57 PM , Rating: 4
That would give a new twist to cybering. hehe

RE: But...
By Brandon Hill on 2/25/2008 4:42:32 PM , Rating: 3
Reminds me of that "sex" scene from Demolition Man.

"I didn't even touch ya yet!" ;)

RE: But...
By 67STANG on 2/25/2008 5:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
"You don't even know what the 3 shells are for?"

RE: But...
By tastyratz on 2/26/08, Rating: 0
Working in reverse
By JoshuaBuss on 2/25/2008 4:31:01 PM , Rating: 5
I can't wait for the hacking community to figure out that like headphones, these can work in reverse too!

Sending your brain direct input from the game you're playing.. whileefzazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzfftt.tkopred90ua9essssssss. ...

I for one welcome our new mind-controlling overlords!

RE: Working in reverse
By HighWing on 2/25/2008 11:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
*laughs* while I do see a concern there, I don't think the devices that "read" brain waves would even be capable of sending signals to the brain. Maybe I'm wrong, but I seem to think that this thick skull we have would require a bit stronger wave then any of these devices have the power to output. Then of course there is the fact that our brains get hit with tons of different waves a day and well that just opens up a whole nother topic of debate.

RE: Working in reverse
By KristopherKubicki on 2/26/2008 1:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
I've never been too concerned about the mouse controlling my hands

An inevitability?
By MeTaedet on 2/26/2008 4:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
So, uh, when are the religious idiots and the schizophrenics (is there a difference?) going to chime in to tell us that these headsets will be the implements of our cognitive enslavement and our doom?

It's going to happen. I mean, remember that just last week 70% of ~1000 Americans in response to a poll said that nanotechnology is morally unacceptable. Just what will they think of this?

RE: An inevitability?
By Durrr on 2/26/2008 8:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you see this? I never read anything about the nanotechnology study.

After a long day at work.....
By Dfere on 2/25/2008 4:55:30 PM , Rating: 1
I don't want a game that requires me to be at peak, I want a game that allows for maximum carnage and adrenaline with as little as much thought as possible.

RE: After a long day at work.....
By jeff834 on 2/26/2008 12:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
Really? I play every kind of game from shooters to RPGs and I personally like to have to think a bit in a game. What would be the point of puzzle games if you didnt have to think? I guess people not wanting to think with their entertainment is the same reason they make movies like Step Up 2 The Streets.

Bring on the matrix
By Pneumothorax on 2/25/2008 7:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
To closer I am to enjoying a steak dinner with Agent Smith, the better!

The Price of Innovation
By murphyslabrat on 2/25/2008 8:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
$50 seems a lot better than $300 for the Emotiv unit, even if it has lesser functionality. This price bracket is the kind that will attract real attention, instead of hovering on the market for years ala embedded active/passive digitizers(touch-screens).

And the body dwindles...
By Cheapshot on 2/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: And the body dwindles...
By bunnyfubbles on 2/26/2008 3:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
naw, soon we'll be able to upload our consciousness into a more suitable and durable biosynthetic/mechanical apparatus instead of these mortal and maintenance nightmare human bodies

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