Print 48 comment(s) - last by misuspita.. on Mar 6 at 8:53 AM

The Neural Impulse Actuator provides highly configurable brain based control for your gaming pleasure.  (Source: OCZ)
The year of the brain mouse continues

DailyTech covered the progress made on OCZ's brain mouse design back in January, following OCZ's demonstration of the device at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.  Since then, two hungry competitors -- Neurosky and Emotiv -- have prepared to release their own brain-controlled mice to consumers, upping the ante for OCZ. 

Not to be outdone, OCZ, feeling the heat, is at last bringing its Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA) to market.  The device is essentially a brain controlled mouse, relying on Electroencephalogram (EEG) readings of the brain's alpha and beta waves.  These readings, combined with muscle movement and glance (eye movement) readings, allow for a very effective interface. 

Furthermore, OCZ has done extensive research into make the system high configurable, which it sees as the key to effective readings and control.  Users can configure thresholds to activate certain actions, allow users to have much more delicate control than in their competitors.  Also this helps to counter any variations in individual physiology that might come into play.

Like its competitors, OCZ's NIA utilizes a headband to capture its readings.  One area where OCZ's design is intended to shine is in terms of computer performance.  Depending on their complexity, brain mice can require significant processing resources.  OCZ's design is optimized for a multi-core system and runs non-intrusively in a multi-threaded environment.  The end result is there is less reduction in gaming performance, yielding a more satisfying gaming experience. 

OCZ demoed the device being used to control a user character in Unreal Tournament 3, with no snags in frame rates.

Users adapting to the brain mouse will face a steep learning curve.  However, once employed, the mouse brings up to a 60 percent reduction in the time needed to react, according to OCZ.  This edge is granted based on long period of time needed to relay information from the eyes to the brain and then the ensuing reaction to the finger muscles.  A brain-to-eye muscle reaction is significantly faster.  This could be a boon to professional gamers, who can use it to enhance their performance without the use of drugs.

OCZ promises that average users will be able to begin to use the device within hours after some initial practice.  Then the only thing left to do is hone their skills in the game world arenas.  Some may even find the device useful in non-gaming desktop applications, despite its primary focus on gaming.

The device, which goes into production next week, should retail for $300 USD.

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Oh yea...
By TimberJon on 3/3/2008 12:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
Now I can play WoW at a glance, WHILE I work. Or while im doing dishes, vacuuming, Bills, Etc... Whats the range on that thing?

I'm not convinced. Nice price tag for such a bundle of technology though. Not like the "highly customizable" OLED K/B. Booo.

Where can I get one? And is it going to be on display in any retail stores for testing?

RE: Oh yea...
By TimberJon on 3/3/2008 12:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
Forget my "where can I get one comment". I don't know why I asked that.. I'll know where to get it. Production is launching, but online retailers only? Will be keeping an eye on CNet for a review. Would be nice if DT posted a link to it ASAP.

RE: Oh yea...
By pmonti80 on 3/3/2008 12:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Better wait till the second of third iteration of the product so they have sorted out the problems.

RE: Oh yea...
By inperfectdarkness on 3/3/2008 12:27:05 PM , Rating: 5

"the synaptic seepage will kill you in less than 48 hours".

RE: Oh yea...
By inperfectdarkness on 3/4/2008 9:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
i'm glad someone got the reference to johnny mnemonic. lol!

RE: Oh yea...
By meesohonee on 3/6/2008 1:52:37 AM , Rating: 2
Why? It is much easier to respond to the wife's interrorgations saying, "Sorry, honey, I didn't mean to download that video. All of the bugs haven't been worked out of this BRAINMOUSE I have."

lol (I spelled it "terror" for a reason. I have been in that situation NUMEROUS times)

RE: Oh yea...
By MrFluffo on 3/3/2008 2:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
Dont turn off your computer while its on your head! You might go into a coma or something cliche.

RE: Oh yea...
By christojojo on 3/3/2008 3:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
Would an AED become the new reboot device?

RE: Oh yea...
By meesohonee on 3/6/2008 2:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
no... Most likely comes with a case of energy drinks and a small pair of jumper cables. you know. Electro-Shock therapy. Even a light bulb so you can do the famous "Uncle Fester" trick.

RE: Oh yea...
By cyyc009 on 3/4/2008 8:26:47 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, stop going .hack on us:-P I think OCZ is coming up with a great idea here. I would love to try out this mouse and see if it truly has the ability to be used in real-world apps. If it does, I wouldn't mind the learning curve one bit.

RE: Oh yea...
By Tsunami982 on 3/3/2008 2:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
So can aim my crosshairs or reticle just by looking at it?

RE: Oh yea...
By random git on 3/4/2008 5:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Whats the range on that thing?

Even if the range is short I can imagine scenarios where freeing both hands while using your computer may be beneficial.

RE: Oh yea...
By meesohonee on 3/6/2008 2:39:01 AM , Rating: 2
. . . .

RE: Oh yea...
By misuspita on 3/6/2008 8:53:25 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly my thoughts!

Office overlord.
By Hexus on 3/3/2008 12:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
I like where this technology is heading. So someday, We'll be able to wear your Tech Crown, and activate all of your tech devices with a glance, You could be a virtual "Tech God". Printers printing at your whim, whole documents keying themselves from your thoughts, music seemingly tailored to your mood, and a small price to pay.

Your soul. ^_^

RE: Office overlord.
By Hexus on 3/3/2008 12:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
We'll should be You'll, damn typo.

RE: Office overlord.
By 3kliksphilip on 3/3/2008 12:38:39 PM , Rating: 2
YES! Now I can control the computer from my bed... in STYLE.

RE: Office overlord.
By Polynikes on 3/3/2008 6:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
That reminds me of the book feed. Scary.

RE: Office overlord.
By Hydrofirex on 3/3/2008 6:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
Eh, kind of 1980's futuristic if you ask me.

I think at the printer to print the page I'm viewing, and viola - the command is routed and printing beings - now that's style. This is arguably, the first steps towards that though.


RE: Office overlord.
By BBeltrami on 3/3/2008 7:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking 2000 futuristic myself... Looked at as an interface to storage media, we're looking at a simple reader, yes? So then doesn't the real revolution begins when it can write?

It's not a mouse.
By i4mt3hwin on 3/3/2008 1:28:40 PM , Rating: 3
Everywhere I've read about this thing, besides dailytech, describes it as a replacement for a keyboard.. not a mouse. You can think about strafing left and right, forward and back.. and jumping/crouching. But you can't think where you want the gun to aim and the cursor will move there.

You will still need to use a mouse.

RE: It's not a mouse.
By KristopherKubicki on 3/3/2008 1:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
You can configure it to bind to whatever keys you'd like. This includes x-y movement.

RE: It's not a mouse.
By AlvinCool on 3/3/2008 3:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
Actually in the article posted here concerning the demo at CES they did not use this device for the mouse movement. I think that while you might be able to bind keys for x and Y movement it would not be as fine as your moving the mouse with your hand. Hence this is really more like a keyboard, although you could bind mouse keys to it also. They used a mouse to shoot with.

RE: It's not a mouse.
By Blight AC on 3/4/2008 9:18:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I noticed that. But there was a point made about it in the video... or another article. Basically, he was only using the mouse to look around, and the firing and movement were all done by the brain device.

I'm thinking the device is fast and accurate enough for firing, but might still have trouble with X/Y type movements. It might not be fast enough or accurate enough. But when thinking of a button press, you don't really have to be that accurate when it's on or off.

Probably because when we are doing X/Y movements, typically there is not only the movement, but a rate of speed associated with that, which might be hard to read with the current iteration of the device. Whereas keys are either on or off.

Would be great to get this to work with WoW, if I could even just get movement and modifier keys, such as Alt mapped to the brain device, that would be very helpful... course.. not exactly $300's helpful... but it would also get me used to using my brain to perform actions on the computer for future versions of brain input devices that would completely eliminate the need for keyboard and mouse.

I do wonder how many inputs can be mapped, and if it depends on the person at all. Again going back to WoW, it would be nice to change my main Action Bar with a thought and activate the button I need. For instance, Shift+3 to switch to the third action bar, and then effectively hitting Alt-0 to get a self heal, and switching back to Shift+1 to return to my offensive spells, all as quick as I can think about it. Heck, it might even be more effective then an actual keyboard if I am unable to accidentally hit the wrong key (which I do too often.)

Another thing that would be nice is if I was able to simply look at a action button and think to activate it. I could look at a health bar and get a heal off if I think my health is slow, etc, or even better, look at my health, my pets health, or my teammates health and effectively get a heal off on the appropriate target... heh, I can see it now, LFM Kara, need healer with Brain Mouse.

RE: It's not a mouse.
By murphyslabrat on 3/4/2008 5:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
If you watch the demo, they used it for looking around. The only thing that they used the mouse for was fine-tuned targeting. I imagine that with sufficient practice, someone could definitely get pretty good with these things, but for demo purposes "sufficient practice" doesn't work.

sign me up
By inperfectdarkness on 3/3/2008 12:03:46 PM , Rating: 3
...just as soon as this goes down to $50.

RE: sign me up
By BruceLeet on 3/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: sign me up
By Flunk on 3/3/2008 12:21:05 PM , Rating: 4
And they say there is a sucker born every minute.

RE: sign me up
By inperfectdarkness on 3/3/2008 12:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
you forget to take into account diminishing returns. a budget wireless keyboard/mouse combo will run you all of $50-60. i can't justify a 500% higher cost for something that is unproven--and most likely will only offer marginal gains over what i currently use.

it's akin to how turning a 14 sec car into a 13 sec car is much less expensive than turning a 10 sec car into a 9 sec car.

RE: sign me up
By GTVic on 3/3/2008 8:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
I agree it is always a good idea to assume new technology won't work any better than the current technology. That way you never have to spend any money and you won't have to worry about over taxing your brain with new information.

The Handicapped
By v1001 on 3/3/2008 1:11:21 PM , Rating: 5
This should be a godsend for those who are handicapped.

I also feel there is a huge pink elephant in the room and regret having to be the one to say this. I can't be the only one thinking porn 'viewing'. Leaving your hands free...for other things.

RE: The Handicapped
By psyph3r on 3/3/2008 5:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, there is where the quality of life would be improved. However, this technology stems from that, so they have enjoyed this for a long time. These guys talk about it

The REAL target audience
By DeuceHalo on 3/3/2008 3:22:16 PM , Rating: 1
This could be a boon to professional gamers, who can use it to enhance their performance without the use of drugs.

I think you're overlooking the most obvious usage of this technology - porn surfing. ;)

RE: The REAL target audience
By Major HooHaa on 3/4/2008 5:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
Log into your E-mail account and have lots of Spam flooding directly into your brain.
Then they will start writing brain viruses.

RE: The REAL target audience
By meesohonee on 3/6/2008 2:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
haha A little realism.

Twas probably the spark in the mind of the creator. I can't IMAGINE a time where this device would help. Not for the LIFE of me! lol

If only...
By Erudite on 3/3/2008 3:45:08 PM , Rating: 3
They made one of these things that you could teach to type for you. Being a writer, I can say it would be worth its weight in gold if you could just think of the 300-400 pages you want to type, instead of actually having to type on a keyboard.

If they came out with a version geared for professionals instead of gamers, I might actually get one. But while I think it is interesting and a great idea, the two or three hours I game a month don't make it worthwhile, especially with a steep learning curve.

I bet professional versions will exist in the coming years. This kind of technology is awesome, and I will enjoy watching as it progresses.

RE: If only...
By psyph3r on 3/4/2008 1:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
Can you imagine training your typing program by typing huge paragraphs with this thing on. It would be just like reading text to nuance software

KB + Mouse > *
By phatboye on 3/3/2008 12:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
However, once employed, the mouse brings up to a 60 percent reduction in the time needed to react, according to OCZ. This edge is granted based on long period of time needed to relay information from the eyes to the brain and then the ensuing reaction to the finger muscles. A brain-to-eye muscle reaction is significantly faster.

Even with the potential reduction in reaction time it still remains to see how accurate this thing will be and just like gamers who play with controllers, I'm pretty KB + Mouse players will dominate the "Brain Mouse" players.

RE: KB + Mouse > *
By tastyratz on 3/3/2008 1:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
All they have to do is make it red and call it the fatal1ty edition - they will make millions.

The first comers can get this and have their fun but in the next year or 2 with the other units coming out - one being only $50 on release... I expect the prices to be driven down quickly to be competitive. By then we will have a better idea on the actual performance of the 3 units and be able to make an educated purchase.

I have to say I am itching at the idea of one of these things though

By Sureshot324 on 3/3/2008 6:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
If it really can read brainwaves, then why would it even need to measure muscle/eye movements? I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing muscle/eye movements have a lot more (all?) to do with it then they're letting on.

Still, I'll be very interested in seeing the reviews.

RE: Brainwaves
By Raidin on 3/4/2008 6:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
The idea is that it can detect brainwaves, not read them (or well enough). Which is why it needs the eye muscle movement sensor to figure out where you're looking.

If it could detect AND read brainwaves, you wouldn't need any other sensors. It would literally read your mind. That's damn near impossible right now. As far as I know, current technology only allows us to see certain brainwave patterns based on what a person is doing or thinking. It's all trial and error. We know that if you think about the color red, your brain does X, if you think about yellow, your brain does Y. We just see the patterns right now, really basic stuff.

At the same time, since you can't depend on the brainwaves to be very accurate without knowing how to read them well, you need muscle twitching because it's more responsive and reactive to what you're doing. If your character gets shot from behind in a game, the device may not be able to determine fast enough if your brainwaves are saying turn around as well as your eye movement or any other muscle twitch it may be monitoring.

Would people really use this?
By 325hhee on 3/3/2008 12:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
I remember a number of years back, there was this device that you put on your pointer finger, and you think where you want it to go. It wasn't 100%, but did detect impulses in the upwards of 90%.

I thought of it as an novelty and sure enough, so did most people, and that product went no where. I'm wondering if this is another one of those fad. I can only imagine it'll start to get uncomfortable after a while.

I just wanna try it out
By bravacentauri83 on 3/3/2008 1:22:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm certainly not going to buy something for $300 where I don't know if it works. I would like to try it out and see what it's like though.

Seven Of Nine?
By KeplersTwinkie on 3/3/2008 3:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty soon It will have the new "Assimilation feature" (doesn't include a telepathic link to your mlg buddies....)

Wonder if this baby hooks straight up to me hypothalamus with low current flow >.> I sure bet this helps the new-to-quadriplegia ex-counterstrike jock!

First the Brain mouse
By phxfreddy on 3/3/2008 8:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
...and then next the ass rat. Pinch to click. Pucker to navigate. What will they think of next ?

I will buy one...
By tjr508 on 3/4/2008 12:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
Only after they bundle it with lie detector software.

Cant wait to try it at home! '=)
By Hafgrim on 3/4/2008 7:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'd LOVE to buy it!!!
IT looks so fun, I hope someone posts a link when it finally hits some store shelves, Because as of right now I can't find it yet online.

Headline Pic Suggestion
By LatinMessiah on 3/4/2008 1:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
The headline pic should have been "Brain" from "Pinky and the Brain". Brain mouse... get it?

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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