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Brain-reading biofeedback caps on the rise, NeuroSky returns

Darren Murph
04.30.07
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Pushing the envelope is what it's all about, and for companies cranking out Wiimote-like devices to make gaming and PC experiences more eventful, even that's not enough to satisfy a bevy of outfits with their eyes set on getting biofeedback into games. Companies such as Emotiv Systems, CyberLearning, and our old friend NeuroSky are all looking to take advantage of the public's current curiosity about thought-controlled (and influenced) gaming by offering up electrode-laced headsets that read a variety of brain impulses to effect gameplay. Essentially, these gel-free caps rely on technology such as electromyography (EMG), which records twitches and other muscular movements, and electrooculography (EOG), which measures changes in the retina, in order to change the way games are experienced. For instance, a nervous, uneasy GTA player would barely be able to aim at his / her enemies, while a daydreamer would have a hard time staying on course and reaching full speed while playing Gran Turismo. Unsurprisingly, said companies have noted that "finding their target markets" have been the most difficult aspect, and certain analysts rightfully question whether gamers would actually enjoy such "mentally taxing restrictions" on their games, but if all goes as planned, we should start seeing a few more options in the commercial brain-interface market before too long.

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