Emotiv Set To Deploy First Consumer PC Brain Driven Controller
February 20, 2008 4:46 PM
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Behold "The Epoc" by Emotiv, the first consumer brain-wave driven controller. Note the built in battery, gyroscope and sensors.
The new headset from Emotiv can read your mind, or more precisely, your mind's electrical signals
Researchers have made great inroad into probing the mysteries of the mind. IBM recently
fully simulated a mouse brain
using its Blue Gene supercomputers. Researchers also have gained key insight into the nervous system and the senses, learning for the first time how the
nervous system changes on the fly to create the sense of smell
Now researchers have put their hard earned discoveries to the ultimate test -- video gaming.
had previously reported on OCZ's progress in developing a "brain mouse" a long running project of OCZ's, which was
at CES '08
. Now another gaming company will challenge OCZ with plans to release to market a
consumer mind control device for video gaming, late this year
Tech firm Emotiv developed the advanced mind-controlled gaming device. The device, titled "The Epoc," will retail for $299 and provide advanced control by reading electrical signals generated among the brain. Among its key features is its ability to detect over 30 facial expressions, emotions and actions based on these signals.
OCZ vice president of technology development Dr. Michael Schuette is excited about the announcement. "It is great ot see more efforts going into the same brain-computer-interface direction."
Tan Le, president of US/Australian firm Emotiv, says her company has achieved the first commercial grade brain-computer interface. She describes its basic premise and potential, stating, "It picks up electrical activity from the brain and sends wireless signals to a computer. It allows the user to manipulate a game or virtual environment naturally and intuitively."
Ms. Le describes the controller in more detail and Emotiv's unique line of business, explaining, "Emotiv is a neuro-engineering company and we've created a brain computer interface that reads electrical impulses in the brain and translates them into commands that a video game can accept and control the game dynamically."
A point emphasized by Ms. Le is that while the technology is existing, it has never been brought to the consumer market before. She sums up this breakthrough, stating, "This is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and [doesn't] require gel on the scalp. It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars."
The Epoc relies on a technology known as Electroencephalography (EEG), a method of detecting of electrical signals from the brain. The technology, which has been used in the medical field for over a hundred years spawned the idea of a brain-based controller in the 1970s.
One useful application of The Epoc in video gaming is to control avatars, virtual digitalized representations of the user. By detecting facial expressions, a user wearing the headset who smiles will be mimicked by their in-game avatar. The ability to insert facial expressions, such as winks and smiles into games will give them new depth according to Ms. Le. For example, she said, If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous."
The device is worn comfortably on the users head and communicates wirelessly via a USB dongle plugged into the user's PC. Besides its EEG sensors it also makes use of a built in gyroscope. Among the supported abilities provided are excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis).
The device allows users to manipulate objects like never before in three dimensional game space, leaving many to fantasize what a game of Half Life 2 might be like with the device. However the device isn't all fun and games. Emotiv is also working with IBM to market the device to provide "strategic enterprise business markets and virtual worlds". The device and its brethren are keys to developing a workable 3D internet and virtual communication, in the future, said Paul Ledak, vice president, IBM Digital Convergence.
Schuette adds, "As to what Emotiv has accomplished, it is virtually impossible for us to compare it with the N
eural Impulse Actuator
since we have never tested it, nor do we know of anybody outside their company who has."
While "The Epoc" may be a bit pricey, congratulations to Emotiv is deserved, for creating the first true consumer gaming brain interface. The only remaining test is to see how well it can handle an
intense round of competitive gaming
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/20/2008 6:43:07 PM
what amuses me most about this article, is that they're selling what is essentially a controller, for such a huge mark up because it's "first of it's kind" type BS, obviously the company is looking for the buck rather than innovation, but also, do they not realize they have no software support from major game companies? this thing should be $100 maximum!
RE: Rip Off!!!
2/20/2008 10:44:22 PM
Based on the OCZ article, they dont need direct software support. Their drivers handle it.
RE: Rip Off!!!
2/21/2008 10:41:00 AM
No, they're selling it for a huge markup because it will be a low-volume commodity. That is, of course, assuming that they are actually marking it up.
A shame though, because if it was closer to $100 I would almost certainly get it....I might still....It looks friggin' cool.
RE: Rip Off!!!
2/21/2008 11:07:07 AM
It says it will cost $300, that a great price considering it is "first of its kind". Can you say to yourself "Research and development". Since no other company has made anything like this to the general gaming public, everything started from the ground.
You better be thankful they even tried to bring the price to a reasonable point for you. Majority of high-tech gadgets such as this are marked at a point where only the rich and famous can have a shot at it or only the hardcore gamer can try.
Get your undies out of a bunch.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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