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Several companies have brought this technology to life with affordable sensors that can detect a person's state of mind.The technology has made its debut in ...

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We have seen mind-controlled tricks in movies. Those miraculous tricks make us flabbergasted. But, those were just tricks and stunts in the movies. But mind controlled machines are now a reality. Several companies have brought this technology to life with affordable sensors that can detect a person’s state of mind.The technology has made its debut in the video game market with affordable brain wave sensors.


NeuroSky GamerGuy MindWave, Image Credit: NeuroSky

Video games are normally played and controlled using joysticks, keyboards, mouse or now popular kinects. There were no games that could be controlled using mind rather than using joystick, keyboard or mouse, until now. Several companies are preparing to bring affordable headsets that can detect human mind conditions through brain waves, converts those signals to digital format and send them to the computers or other devices which use the information as game controlling inputs.

The technology of game control using brain signals is quite complex to implement, but simple to use. Users have to put a headset on the head and keep the mind in relax mode. The headset contains a sensor. The headset detects various mental states of the brain and a chip translates the brain waves from analog format to digital information and send them wirelessly to computers or other devices. Remember, brain-wave measures the brain’s electrical impulses. Wearing the headset, one begins controlling digital interfaces—video games or an object with his/her thought.

The technology saw a major breakthrough in 2009 when San Jose-based NeuroSky Inc. first made a gadget that can translate brain waves into specific commands in the physical world except for skull implantation. Now, there are about 1,700 software developers who are working with NeuroSky’s technology. Most of the software developers are trying to make mind-controlled computer games for the company’s $129 MindWave Mobile headset.

Right now, the company’s app store offers desktop games like “MindHunter,” “Mind Labyrinth” etc video games. Most of the games can be found in this app store at prices between $5 and $20 except for “HocusFocus” that costs $150.

Before delving into gaming industry, NeuroSky ventured into other industries too. In 2009, toy maker Uncle Milton Inc. used NeuroSky’s headset for the Star Wars Force Trainer toy that let youngsters suspend a ball inside a tube. As the child concentrated, a fan would spin and blow the ping-pong ball in the upward direction. London-based MyndPlay Ltd. is using NeuroSky chips inside its own headset to enable viewers to control the outcome of movie scenes by concentrating and relaxing.

The new technology also have some critics. Psychiatrist Michael Brody warns that mind-controlled games are useful only if they move beyond the novelty stage and become a standard part of patients’ mental health regimens. However, controlling through mind technology is still in its infancy. Some doctors said that, the technology can possibly improve education and strengthen mental health.

Source : The Wall Street Journal

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