Emotiv Systems has revealed the Emotiv EPOC, a neuroheadset that allows players to control video games with their thoughts, expressions and emotions at the GDC 2008.
The Emotiv EPOC is the first high-fidelity brain computer interface (BCI) device for the video gaming market and will be available to consumers via Emotiv's Web site and through selected retailers in late 2008 for a recommended retail price of $299.
The neuroheadset is a lightweight, sleek and easy-to-use wireless device, featuring sensors that detect conscious thoughts, expressions and non-conscious emotions based on electrical signals around the brain. Emotiv's technology processes these signals, enabling players to control their in-game character's expressions or actions and influence gameplay using their thoughts, expressions and emotions.
"Being able to control a computer with your mind is the ultimate quest of human-machine interaction," said Nam Do, CEO of Emotiv Systems. "When integrated into games, virtual worlds and other simulated environments, this technology will have a profound impact on the user's experience. Since announcing our prototype last year, we've made dramatic technological breakthroughs in order to create the first wearable, affordable brain-controlled gaming headset. We're excited to see our vision realized this year and look forward to enabling gamers out there to experience brain-controlled gaming for themselves."
The Emotiv EPOC detects over 30 different expressions, emotions and actions these include: emotional detections such as immersion, excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, crossed eyes, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed), horizontal eye movement, smirk and grimace (clenched teeth); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis) as well as a completely new category of action based on visualization, the first of which is the ability to make objects disappear. As a result of these detections, players will enjoy a more immersive, lifelike experience. Games will be able to respond dynamically to player emotions, enabling, for example, more sophisticated dynamic difficulty adjustment. Players can more easily simulate the magical or fantastical aspects of gaming by controlling certain actions and expressions and manipulating objects in the game using their brains instead of a keyboard or controller.
In addition to these detections, the Emotiv EPOC incorporates a gyroscope, which enables the camera or cursor to be controlled by head motions.
Emotiv and IBM also announced today that they intend to explore the potential of Emotiv's BCI technology beyond the gaming market, into more strategic enterprise business markets and virtual worlds. IBM and Emotiv plan to explore how to make these environments more personal, intuitive, immersive and ultimately more lifelike. IBM also intends to explore how the Emotiv headset may be used for researching other possible applications of Emotiv's BCI technology, including virtual training and learning, collaboration, development, design and sophisticated simulation platforms for industries such as enterprise and government.
It looks like brain interface is starting to become a reality for us this year.
More details on the Emotiv site. See also this brief video of Brian Crecente from Kotaku trying out the EPOC at the GDC 2008.