Good news for the gamer community, Australian neuro- engineering company has created a brain computer interface 'Epoc', that is capable of reading electrical pulses in the brain and converts them into commands of a video game. By using thoughts and emotions, gamers will now be able to interact with the virtual world.
Relation between human brain and machine has always been limited to conscious interaction, with no linking of expression, communication, perception – reserved solely for the human domain.
Human brain is made up of hundred billion nerve cells, which emit electrical impulse when interacting. The headset uses non- invasive electroncephalograpy, a technology in which electrical activity produced by brain is recorded through electrodes placed at the scalp.
Australian government has funded Epoc million dollars for project Epoc. Emotiv, the company making it has raised $ 6.3 million in funding till date. With staff of Randy Breen, former vice- president and head of department of Lucas Arts, Emotiv’s new gameplay will be like nothing ever seen before. This mind reading game controller prototype is available for $299, and has a gyroscope to detect movements. Epic is not available to consumers at the moment. Consumer version will be announced at a later.
Project Epoc is a headset that detects player’s thoughts, feelings and expression with the use of sensors, placed in the headset. A set of sensors collect the electric signals emitted by the neurons in the brains. Sensors are placed at specific locations in order to capture all the electric signals. The Emotiv said the headset could detect more than thirty different expressions, emotions and actions. Project Epoc can be used wirelessly. This freedom is achieved with use wifi technology. It can be connected with all the game platforms from computers to consoles. USB dongle is plugged into a computer, which offers wireless capabilities to the headset.
Authentic facial expression of avatars of gamers of virtual world can be given with the use of Epoc technology. For example headset can translate the players expressions like smile, wink grimaces into the avatar expression to the avatar in the game.
"If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous," said Tan Le, president of US/Australian firm Emotiv.
Usage of Project Epoc headset is simple and hassle free. There is no need to put any kind of gel on the scalp for the headset to function. There are no cables and no large net of electrodes. You don’t need too much of technical knowledge to operate it.
Hundreds or thousands of thoughts go through our mind every minute. Even when we are focusing, many times we think of something else even if for just a split of second. This gadget should be able to isolate those thoughts and ignore them, so that it does not misinterpret any of those thoughts as commands of the game.
Motion controller and wireless gaming have taken gaming to a different level. Using electrical signals produced inside the brain to play games has given gaming a new definition. Some believe that Project Epoc won't be a successful project. Nintendo Wii introduced Wii controller in 2006, which used motion sensor technology. Some people think they looked goofy while playing with the controller, imagine, sitting still and playing "Emotiv Baseball" without even moving your head!
Doubts have been raised, as some people think that the games, which we play, are not tailored for our brain-button-pushing. If all the latest games are tailored for this gadget, it could revolutionize the game play experience.