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Nordic Powers Mind-control Gaming

Thu, 02/24/2011 - 4:04am

Emotiv Wireless mind-control system developer Emotiv is employing Nordic 2.4GHz proprietary transceivers in its off-the-shelf EPOC Neuroheadset platform. Emotiv is now actively promoting the headset to the mainstream consumer gaming industry.

The EPOC consumer wireless headset can reliably distinguish between unique electrical brain patterns produced when a wearer thinks of performing various computer game- applicable actions such as left/right, push/pull, lift/drop, rotate, and vanish. If, for example, the wearer thinks of ‘pushing’, a gaming object will be propelled away from them, and if they think ‘pull’, it will be drawn towards the user.

Emotiv says the headset – which additionally incorporates a gyroscope to detect movement – is more

than just a ‘brain-powered joystick’. It can also detect facial expressions and even emotional states (for example, excitement, calmness, tension, frustration or engagement) to modify the game’s performance, allowing on-screen characters to respond empathetically to the user’s inputs.

Extended battery life

In operation, electrical brain data from 14 independent sensors on the EPOC headset is transmitted to a USB wireless dongle using Nordic Semiconductor 2.4GHz ultra low power (ULP) transceivers. The ULP operational characteristics of the Nordic transceivers allows the EPOC’s rechargeable lithium-polymer battery to run for up to 14 hours of continuous operation between charges – enough to satisfy even the most hard-core gamers.

headset Because the headset has been optimized specifically for consumer use it requires no specialist training or equipment to use beyond a simple on-screen guided initial setup and learn procedure (that can be included as part of a game). This set-up ensures all 14 sensors (located on self-adjusting arms) are correctly positioned and making adequate contactwith the user’s head to conduct the minute electrical signals. Uniquely in the case of the EPOC headset, this includes being able to operate through hair, which is normally a natural electrical insulator.

Enriched gaming experience

“Gamers can now interact with the virtual world by the power of thought alone,” explains

Geoff Mackellar, Research Manager and CTO at Emotiv. “This will enrich the gaming experience beyond all recognition as it will allow gamers to interact with gaming content in entirely new and seemingly magical ways that can include accurate emotional responses from virtual characters. In fact it could be just what the gaming market needs to take it to the next ‘must have’ product level.”

For more information visit www.nordicsemi.com

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