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Dr. Schuette arms himself with the OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator headband.  (Source: Jason Mick, DailyTech LLC.)

Just a casual game of brain-controlled UT3 FPS with OCZ's Dr. Schuette.  (Source: Jason Mick, DailyTech LLC)
OCZ demos a fully working prototype of the next generation of video game control

In the world of competitive video gaming, split second reactions are essential.  Fingers are fast, but not always fast enough.  Some players turn to drugs to try to pump up their performances.  OCZ instead dreamt up and created the Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA), the world's first gaming control system that forgoes tactile inputs in favor of inputs from muscle movement, brain waves, and glance (eye movement) levels.

OCZ demoed the device in fully working form to DailyTech one late night at CES 2008.  OCZ VP of Technology Development, Dr. Michael Schuette, had the device set up in his suite, hooked up to a gaming rig via USB.

He first showed how the system is calibrated to deal with individual user physiology.  You simply put on the headband, which fits snuggly around your head at temple level, and then fire up the calibration GUI.  The GUI contains sections that allow the user to calibrate each of the input types -- muscle movement, brain waves, and glandular levels. 

For the muscle movement, the device tracks muscles in your forehead and around your eyes.  When calibrated correctly, these facial muscles provide almost effortless directional movement far smoother than with a keyboard.  You can fine tune it to easily detect the difference between turning and strafing; a critical difference to FPS players. 

Brain waves are similarly calculated.  Alpha and Beta waves are both monitored by the device and can be assigned multiple inputs.  These inputs are highly useful for changing weapons.  By utilizing what Dr. Schuette dubbed a "Tourettes impulse" he demonstrated he could raise beta waves to a high enough plateau to switch guns.  A high threshold is typically set for these values, to avoid say, changing your weapon if you are thinking about having to get up for work, or other stressful thoughts.

The last input is glance (eye movement) which can also be useful for directional movement.

Once the calibration was demoed, Dr. Schuette loaded up his "best" configuration.  After loading, the program sits on your desktop, ready for use with any game you fire up.  It uses Direct X and multithreading to minimize any performance hits.  Unreal Tournament III started up and was demoed.  Before long, DailyTech was witness to one of the most unique death-match games in history.  Using the mouse only for aiming Dr. Schuette deftly moved and changed guns using only his mind and facial muscles.  The result was a fluid zen-like play of kill after kill as he cut through the bot opponents like a hot knife through butter.

While results will likely vary, and depend on the quality of calibration, DailyTech came away from the test confident that when OCZ releases its device, which should be very soon, it will be very functional and a practical, if a bit unusual, option for gamers looking to get an edge on the competition.

Users also benefit from the device doubling as a sports and mental conditioning tool, as it can help you monitor your alpha and beta waves during meditation and visualization.  This, as OCZ points out, makes the device not only good for fragging your friends, but also for visualizing and subsequently beating your friends in tennis, soccer, and any other competitive endeavor you choose.

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By Creig on 1/17/2008 3:09:41 PM , Rating: 3
But they should have demoed the mouse by playing Command & Conquer Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge.

RE: Neat!
By Xed on 1/17/2008 3:12:22 PM , Rating: 4
Looks slightly ridiculous but interesting if it works well enough.

Ocz disclaimer : Not to be used while watching porn

RE: Neat!
By choadenstein on 1/17/2008 3:22:11 PM , Rating: 5
Are we really worried about looking ridiculous. Whenever my Fiancee walks in on me with a headset on talking to my friends over Teamspeak I know I'm not getting sex for a week.

Trust me, we look ridiculous already, what's a headband gonna do.

On a different note, this is seriously going to change gaming if it really works well. Mouse users will be so out classed.

RE: Neat!
By amanojaku on 1/17/2008 3:28:29 PM , Rating: 3
Are we really worried about looking ridiculous. Whenever my Fiancee walks in on me with a headset on talking to my friends over Teamspeak I know I'm not getting sex for a week.

I hope you're exaggerating! If not, you either need to give up games or the fiancee. No offense meant to the lady, but that's just cruel. Then again, you can deny her sex if you catch her watching Titanic for the 50th time, or whatever she does that you don't like. lol

RE: Neat!
By choadenstein on 1/17/2008 3:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it was a facetious comment. However, I do not think anyone of us can claim that a headset truly enhances our appearance. Nor do most of us care... Hence the reason as soon as they're available, I'm slapping one of these headbands straight on. Geek and proud!

RE: Neat!
By dflynchimp on 1/18/2008 1:13:24 AM , Rating: 3
no can do, mister. Women can hold out far longer than we can XD

RE: Neat!
By Akazar on 1/18/2008 10:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
Not only can women hold out longer...

But there's always some ex-boyfriend or emotional best friend lurking around to fill in for you.

RE: Neat!
By diego10arg on 1/18/2008 6:20:25 PM , Rating: 2
you can deny her sex if you catch her watching Titanic for the 50th time

Who will ever deny sex to a woman?
You should have said
you can oblige her to have sex for the 50th time in a week if you catch her watching Titanic for the 50th time

RE: Neat!
By Brandon Hill on 1/17/2008 3:30:08 PM , Rating: 4
Are we really worried about looking ridiculous. Whenever my Fiancee walks in on me with a headset on talking to my friends over Teamspeak I know I'm not getting sex for a week.

Damn, she's pretty strict. Idunno, sex or chatting using a headset with a bunch of other geeks... hmmm. Touch choice... ;)

RE: Neat!
By JasonMick on 1/17/2008 3:56:43 PM , Rating: 3
Touch choice

Nice Freudian slip there Brandon!! =P Thats funny.

I agree with your assessment though.

RE: Neat!
By Frallan on 1/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Neat!
By christojojo on 1/17/2008 3:33:49 PM , Rating: 3
Whenever my Fiancee walks in on me with a headset on talking to my friends over Teamspeak I know I'm not getting sex for a week.

Could it be the furry bunny costume you wear instead of teamspeak that prevents your from premarital bliss?

RE: Neat!
By Brandon Hill on 1/17/2008 3:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think he's actually dressed up as Frank the bunny. That wouldn't definitely turn her off...

RE: Neat!
By Brandon Hill on 1/17/2008 3:35:41 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Neat!
By Vanilla Thunder on 1/17/2008 4:59:11 PM , Rating: 3
"Why are you always wearing that ridiculous human suit?"



RE: Neat!
By inperfectdarkness on 1/17/2008 3:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
no. mouse will remain. he's using it in place of the keyboard.

what i foresee is a day when the keyboard is re-integrated in a different role. we can use this device for movement, and eventually, possibly, aiming. but imagine if we could start to use our keyboards for other things--DURING our fps gameplay. command and control functions, etc. THAT would be sweet.

RE: Neat!
By littlebitstrouds on 1/17/2008 4:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
While crouched at long a, tell one core of your quad-core setup to open up your email and start dictating an email... Now that's what I can multi-tasking.

RE: Neat!
By idconstruct on 1/17/2008 9:22:07 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Neat!
By knowyourenemy on 1/17/2008 6:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Mouse users will be so out classed.

Keyboard users, sir, keyboards!

RE: Neat!
By Polynikes on 1/17/2008 7:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
You, my friend, need a new girlfriend. Mine doesn't hold out like that. :P

RE: Neat!
By jeff834 on 1/18/2008 12:01:14 AM , Rating: 2
That's kind of sad for you, my g/f is right there playing the games with me. Sometimes I practically have to drag her away from Halo or WoW...damn I'm lucky lol.

RE: Neat!
By Ammohunt on 1/18/2008 2:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
Add some wrist bands and you can look like your ready to work out 70ies style.

Makes my face tired looking at it.

RE: Neat!
By cmdrdredd on 1/17/2008 4:07:23 PM , Rating: 1
So this dude can beat some bots, likely not on the hardest difficulty.

Lets see him take it online against the top tier players in the world who still use a traditional KB or some type of device that has keys.

Likely result? He gets toasted and the neural device is rendered useless when it comes to increasing your proficiency.

RE: Neat!
By InternetGeek on 1/17/2008 5:36:22 PM , Rating: 3
It's all about practice. Just give time to a pro gamer with this thing and then judge from the results.

RE: Neat!
By Polynikes on 1/17/2008 7:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
I guess we'll see, if or when they start using them. I can see a future where there'll be different competitive leagues, those with keyboards, and those for "other" devices.

RE: Neat!
By 4wardtristan on 1/21/2008 12:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
Lets see him take it online against the top tier players in the world

are you serious? pit any regular joe against anyone who is "top tier in the world" for ther respective activity...

result? regular joe gets his ass handed to him many times over

while i dont deny that he is playing easy bots, still a interesting comment from yourself..

RE: Neat!
By Xenoterranos on 1/18/2008 11:44:44 AM , Rating: 2
This. FTW.

Strafing and Walking Sideways?
By clovell on 1/17/2008 3:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
> You can fine tune it to easily detect the difference between walking sideways and strafing; a critical difference to FPS players

At the risk of sounding like a noob - aren't those the same thing?

RE: Strafing and Walking Sideways?
By Xed on 1/17/2008 3:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
I assume they meant as in just walking side to side or strafing 360 degrees around something, etc.

RE: Strafing and Walking Sideways?
By Sylar on 1/17/2008 3:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think he meant strafing at walking speeds vs just strafing.



RE: Strafing and Walking Sideways?
By ElFenix on 1/17/2008 3:23:35 PM , Rating: 3
they are. the english language isn't exactly a priority here.

the test should read: "You can fine tune it to easily detect the difference between turning and strafing; a critical difference to FPS players"

By SpaceRanger on 1/17/2008 3:30:49 PM , Rating: 3
You mean, the TEXT should read:

Sorry.. Had to correct it..

By idconstruct on 1/17/2008 9:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
Since when do we turn with a keyboard?

By ImSpartacus on 1/17/2008 3:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, I don't understand the difference unless strafing is circling an object.

I think
By Sylar on 1/17/2008 3:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
this technology will be great for consoles.

RE: I think
By Jetster on 1/17/2008 3:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
Wiii!!! now featuring both motion sensor and mind sensor

RE: I think
By ImSpartacus on 1/17/2008 3:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. I think this would be the next Wii (or w/e it will be called) input method when it comes time for Nintendo to start thinking next-gen.

RE: I think
By Mitch101 on 1/17/2008 3:26:13 PM , Rating: 3
The Wii gets me in shape because I have to move my body then the next generation makes me obese because I can just lie there and not move anything. I guess there will be less sore thumbs in the long run.

RE: I think
By Black69ta on 1/17/2008 4:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
no you wouldn't be obese cuz you would still need to move the motion sensor however it wouldn't need buttons or at least few cuz other actions could be controlled by thought and muscle signals. instead of a controller to hold in you hand think wireless gloves. I think we now have the technology for VR like was promised way back in the mid-nineties. only instead of requiring huge systems and only fitting in a mall or such the power fits in a little box beside the TV. I remember High School when the midrange Cray-3 was at about 32 gigaFLOP and now we have Graphics cards that do that. I whine about a 8800 ultra being $500+ when the CRAY was over $10 million I get giddy think about what I'll see in my lifetime.

RE: I think
By Mitch101 on 1/17/2008 5:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
Can I have it connected to the wife so that when she thinks shopping it delivers an electric shock? Or when I need a beer it give her two shocks? Of course I will never be able to fall asleep again fearing where she will put that shocker when I am most vulnerable.

RE: I think
By dazy on 1/18/2008 2:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
"You might be a redneck if..."

By Aikouka on 1/17/2008 3:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
This actually looks pretty cool. Like one of those things you want to try because you wonder how well it works (as long as it has a decent price) and you wonder if it could actually make you better.

Personally, I don't like devices that physically tether me to my PC/console, so that's a bit of a turn-off. The statement seems awkward, so what I mean is that unlike a controller where you just hold it, these devices are strapped/hooked onto you. Such as the Guitar Hero controllers... you typically use the strap which tethers you to the console/computer until you take it off. Just a nitpicky thing, but I think it could be pretty nifty with a bluetooth setup. I doubt it'd really add any extra weight as I swear those bluetooth headsets are getting so small you wouldn't see them without them flashing lights!

Only thing I'd worry about is you're about to frag someone when you feel it coming... it builds up inside and you try to hold it... but alas, you cannot! Achoo! Your character rotates 180 degrees and you just discover the easy way to switch directions :P. Now I doubt that you'd have a good reaction like that, but when you sneeze, your facial muscles contract a bit and that'd cause the OCZ thing to react. But I'm quite sure a bad sneeze would affect ya even with a normal KB/M setup.

RE: Interesting
By xti on 1/17/2008 4:13:43 PM , Rating: 2 a flash bomb....or in this case...snot all over the screen and you cant see.

same thing.

RE: Interesting
By inighthawki on 1/17/2008 4:22:07 PM , Rating: 3
lol, just think of it this way, if u were really in there playing against real people, a sneeze would not only lower your guard but also give away your position, so i guess it gives u added realism at the cost of slightly added realism ;)

Video Demo
By lukasbradley on 1/17/2008 5:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Video Demo
By lukasbradley on 1/17/2008 5:56:48 PM , Rating: 3
Another better one, should have posted this one first.

I wonder...
By GaryJohnson on 1/17/2008 3:45:38 PM , Rating: 1
...if this will produce a generation of gamers with thick overdeveloped forehead muscles.

RE: I wonder...
By christojojo on 1/17/2008 3:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
if you're thinking, what I'm thinking Pinky?

Big deal, I've already had this.....
By marvdmartian on 1/18/2008 9:29:01 AM , Rating: 1
I don't see what the big deal of a brain controlled mouse is? I mean, I've had one for about 10 years now!

It incorporates an interface that goes between my brain and the mouse, that I call a
H olistic
A nd
N eural
D evice,

or HAND , for short. ;)

By MFK on 1/21/2008 10:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, I think you're just trying to be funny, but just to lay my doubts to rest, let me state why I think this is better than your Holistic And Neural Device.

It probably cuts down on the 'latency' between thinking something, acting upon it, then having the computer act upon it.

So all you have to do is think something, and the computer acts upon it.

By choadenstein on 1/17/2008 3:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not to be to picky but, "Results will obviously likely vary"?

take out either obviously or likely, they do not work well together, obviously....


Where can I order one?
By NeoTechni on 1/17/2008 6:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'd love to buy the first one available

By InternetGeek on 1/17/2008 6:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
"Hi, It seems the battery of my iMac Air just died"

"Ok, just send it in and we'll replace it"

"Just send me a new battery I'll change it"

"Ok, please wear your iMind so we can determine the eact battery model you need"

/wears iMind

/AppleBot sends iZAP

/AppleBot closed Customer Case

saved by the bell
By Coca Cola on 1/17/2008 6:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
sweet...buddy bands for the 21st century. Up next, love cuffs renamed to frag cuffs for the replacement mouse, they should use slator's buddy band commercial rescripted with gaming lingo and with jessie's sleep deprived, caffeine pill induced rendition of I'm so excited at the end to show how wonderful their product is. "Hey, they work"

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