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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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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.




By KristopherKubicki (blog) 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.


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