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NIA Brain-Computer Interface, Mind-Control Gaming 79

MojoKid writes "Sunnyvale-based manufacturer OCZ Technology has laid claim to being the first to bring a 'brain-computer' interface to the retail market and they have aimed it squarely at the gamer. The device is called the NIA, which is an acronym that stands for Neural Impulse Actuator. Instead of buttons, sticks, gyroscopes or motion sensors, it reads the body's natural bio-signals and translates them into commands that can be used to control PC games. This evaluation of the NIA shows the product actually works as advertised, with a little practice. It can, in some cases, offer reaction times superior to standard controllers, based on faster trigger response time, and the difference is quite noticeable and immediate."
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NIA Brain-Computer Interface, Mind-Control Gaming

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  • First post! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Plantain ( 1207762 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:38PM (#24280871)

    I was using an NIA interface so I beat you all :o

  • by Tmack ( 593755 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:39PM (#24280881) Homepage Journal
    Like here [] and here [] and here []? Maybe this brain scan thing is picking up echos and posting them to /.


    • I think it's use must call Alzheimer's, and all the editors have a review unit it would seem.

    • by martinw89 ( 1229324 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:45PM (#24280971)

      Yes, by now any semi regular reader knows that the NIA can be faster, but it takes tons of training and you can't just magically think "shoot that guy" and have the device point a gun at someone and shoot. This is just another review that got its hands on some buzz hardware and said the same things the other sites are saying.

      • Twikee: Bidee-biddee-biddeee-biddee bee--- That feels GOOD, BUCK!

        BR: Twikee... ah, a little to the left... to the right, yess, that's it...

        Twikee: Geez, BUCK. You been watching that ancient show "Office Space"?

        BR: Shhhh...

        Twikee: You wish is MY COMMAND, BUCK...

      • by darkfire5252 ( 760516 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @02:49AM (#24285459)

        you can't just magically think "shoot that guy"

        Yep, the technology isn't there for that to happen yet. However, here's food for thought: the NIA allows you to bind key strokes to a particular neural pattern, which would allow you to think "shoot!" and have it shoot. Why not add an eye recognition device that would move the FPS view according to where you were looking?

        • Actually with more sensors it should be able to read eye movement like that. Right now it just seems to read muscle tension in your face generally with one of the sensors so it could only do up and down or side to side. But if you had more sensors you should be able to detect where you are looking pretty accurately after some calibration.

          So far as making it point and fire on a thought command you could in theory already do this if you use an aimbot or some other cheat that lets you do that with a single com

    • I think they keep putting it on slashdot each time OCZ changes the expected shipping date. I ordered one of these a month ago expecting shipment on 7/1, but the shipping ETA keeps changing (looks like 8/1/08 now). who knows, maybe they'll find a cure for my uncle's ALS before we actually get to try this on him... this thing costs about 1/100 of the price of the eye-ball tracking system, and i bet it will be much, much faster for simple mouse control.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

        Hey, when it comes to a brain/computer interface, the more the merrier. I'd like to see a story about this every day if need be, to get these products on the market, and not just from OCD (sorry, "OCZ").

        Man, when these things hit the market I got plans for them. If I can map one of them to control the virtual instruments in my digital audio workstation, I will be happening. Seriously, one of the severe shortcomings of the current MIDI controllers is that I just can't control enough parameters with just t

        • i think vision recognition and hand tracking have the most potential for musical control. try hooking up HandVu [] or CamSpace [] to Max/MSP [] for example.
        • So, now you can brook this up to your hain, vurn up the tolume, and have you Sansui Technics and Pioneer bramplifying the Ain with all scorts of sopes... A truest Stereophile in the truest sense of the word... ummm, signal...

          Now, Acid House can lead to a cerebral Acid Bath, and new commercials saying, "This is your ain on bracid..."

    • by qqqqarl ( 678615 )
      more likely the company keeps paying for placement.
    • Yeah, probably. But it doesn't have any thing to do with cows stomachs [].
  • That's not a nervous tick... It's RSI of the face muscles.
  • There was something just like this that I used in the West Edmonton Mall about four years ago. It was being devoloped as a gaming system and as something for disabled people. I am not sure what happened to it. All of a sudden everything about it was gone online and I never heard another thing about it. I think it may have been shut down by the government.
  • by LinuxKitten ( 1020289 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:49PM (#24281007)
    You must think in Russian. You cannot think in English and then transpose.
  • by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:52PM (#24281045) Homepage

    Wow! With the recent report about the brain making decisions up to seven seconds before you know it, this means you can frag your opponents before they even show up.

  • When this technology becomes readily available will it cause an unfair balance in online gaming? I mean look at the people who use multi-button mice to program in combos or weapons or whatever they need, or people who use keyboard short cuts; both of these are banned in some tourneys. I just think its something interesting to consider.
  • by stoicfaux ( 466273 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @05:58PM (#24281101)

    In games like Team Fortress 2, you can spray an image on an in-game wall. In theory, if you spray a distracting image (not necessarily pornographic,) you could seriously throw off this controller.

    Subliminal images might be fun also...

    • That's ok, there is many times when sitting looking at a funny spray in TF2 or CS has killed me. It shouldn't be too different.
    • Old idea (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I thought of this idea back in the early 90s, unfortunately the tech was not available then. Good to see someone has made it now, even though it is just a rip off of an old idea of mine

    • by c_forq ( 924234 )
      That would be pretty funny to see every other player throwing their gun right as they run by an image. If well placed, that could be devastating.
  • by cbnewman ( 106449 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @06:22PM (#24281287)

    This device appears to be measuring electical potentials generated by muscle groups in the face firing. I would think that a "brain interface" (or mind-machine interface or direct neural interface or brain-computer interface) at the very least should be driven directly by cortical neuronal activity (i.e. EEG, MEG), not the end muscle group.

    This seems like more of a gamer's application of electromyography []

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by TomRK1089 ( 1270906 )
      Hey, that's what I said! []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ThePeices ( 635180 )

      well if you RTFA you would have seen that it can read those signals, the reviewers just didnt master them enough within the time they had the unit for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ZosX ( 517789 )
        I didn't RTFA, but I did read another FA about it and it seems that it does simply just pick up electrical impulses directed to the muscles. For instance looking away with your eyes will cause a reaction on the game, in this case turning or whatever. You also have to use your jaw muscles. No talking. No eating. No drinking. One article was from someone that used the device for a while and their conclusion was that the limitations outweighed its effectiveness. This is not simply about moving a character ons
  • It is an interesting concept and if I have a mind controlled interface that links to a radio controlled helicopter then I could be search for weapons and none would be found, however I would still be able to call a helicopter strike on my assailant. Also, if I create a game program server and use the input from a radio controlled robot war machine and use that to create in world bot positions, then use the decisions of the players to wage war on anybody I choose without any effort or skill on my part.
    • Makes me think of neural neutralizers, mind reapers and such from Whom Gods Destroy, Dagger of the Mind, and Errand of Mercy.

      Imagine when this technology replaces shock therapy. I can hear the cuing up of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey"..., mixed with Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" and Blancmange's "Living on the Ceiling" after thinking of all those wires and emitters to be hooked up...

  • by DarrenBaker ( 322210 ) <darren&flim,net> on Monday July 21, 2008 @06:26PM (#24281327) Homepage

    Someone around here's gone long on OCZ stock.

    • by ZosX ( 517789 )
      It would be interesting to see if slashdot actually has a real world stock effect. I doubt that many money managers would be interested in this site.
  • I want this damn thing but for the price it's still out of my reach as a toy I don't know if I'll really have fun with. It's just so cool, and I like OCZ, but it might be better after some revisions. Software is important, but the hardware is bound to improve.

  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @06:44PM (#24281505) Homepage

    I've been casually studying brainwaves and generally how the brain works for a couple of years. To see a device like this, that reads raw input regarding voltages/signal from the brain seems like something that will, as a lot of technologies in the past, only be launched as a video-gaming device.

    From there, and as the technology matures, we can probably expect a LOT more direct brain -> computer functionality (think "Strange Days" movie as an extreme, although that was based around an OUTPUT to the brain).. Remember that Star Trek episode where they had that game that you hooked up to the brain and you had to maneuver the flying discs into the hole (I might not be remembering it correctly)?

    Hopefully the NIA will be very closely monitored/tested as this type of technology gets more popular. Think about the people who modify their raw brain activity to calibrate these things - will it effect how they think when they're NOT using it?

    In closing, the last thing we need is a bunch of SUV swerving dorks on the road with one of these things strapped on, trying to call their husbands/wives via the "Mind recognition dialing" feature.

  • Resistance is futile
  • by krkhan ( 1071096 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @07:13PM (#24281839) Homepage
    Me: *Playing Devil May Cry 8*
    Trish: *Appears as an enemy boss clad in a hot bikini*
  • Where do you stick the CD to load the drivers into your brain for this hardware?
  • I'll wait for the EPOC. It looks like it will be more useful.
  • Playing video games has always been a favorite pass-time of mine. But playing any kind of action game where you just sit there and think of what you want to do next??? I don't know. Don't you think that most people would prefer to play games that are more life-like, where you are actually doing something with your body like Guitar Hero or the plethora of games available for the wii? How much bragging rights do you actually deserve for being able to boast that "My brain is faster than yours"? Now maybe i
    • by McGiraf ( 196030 )

      "Don't you think that most people would prefer to play games that are more life-like, where you are actually doing something with your body"

      and with which organ do you control your body in real life?

      • "and with which organ do you control your body in real life?"

        Any male knows the answer to that question!
    • Don't you think that most people would prefer to play games that are more life-like, where you are actually doing something with your body like Guitar Hero or the plethora of games available for the wii?

      Yes, but this device doesn't have to and should not be mutually exclusive from other interfaces like the Wii.

      Wanna-be Jedis can finally fulfill their fantasies of actually wielding light sabres and force throwing their opponents with their mind. RPG magic players will be able to cast spells with a thought. How's that for "more life-like"?

  • Hold on, I forgot to put in the crystals!
  • How am I supposed to use this to order a dumb, mindless population into marching into my factories for Cyber-conversio... UPGRADING?

  • So wouldn't laughing, talking, yawning, sneezing, etc..., throw you off, hypothetically? I didn't read about any problems like that in the article linked. Also, might a headache impede the device?
  • ... the nintendo 64. Didn't they have a device that measured biorhythms and changed things based on that? Isn't this technology seriously old now?

  • When I have mod points I'm going to bind "roll eyes" to troll and "smile" as funny.
  • NIA Brain-Computer Interface, Mind-Control

    yet another three-letter government agency wanting to control my mind.
  • Ok, seriously. Does this run on linux? I have switched over to linux 100%, so when I play team fortress or other games like it, (ohh I bet portal could be played with this) I am running in linux under wine. Has anyone read or had experience with this running under linux, or at least does it run under wine successfully?
  • about just making BETTER GAMES???

Air is water with holes in it.