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