Monday, May 19, 2008

Mind control games...yes way!

This is my colleague Logan Decker, one of the editors on PC Gamer magazine, demonstrating the control of a videogame with his mind. I know, I know – that's what I thought at first, too. "Inconceivable!" But I do not think that word means what you think it means. Because this headset actually does allow Logan (or anyone else) to command a videogame with their thoughts.

Well, technically, it’s not thoughts that do the job, but bio-feedback. The headset's sensors are detecting tiny skin palpitations to determine when you're thinking "Fire!" (as in, to fire your weapon in the game). So as you move around the game world, your character shoots whenever you think about shooting. It's like the movie Firefox, but for real.

I'm a huge skeptic and at first I thought it was crap. But I was convinced when I directed Logan in a little experiment – I asked him to fire in three-shot bursts at my specific verbal command. As he ran around the game world, I would intermittently say "Now!" and sure enough his character would fire a three-shot burst at the instant I commanded. Then I mixed it up, asking for a five-shot burst, and Logan delivered a five-shot burst…without so much as a twitch of his finger.

Convinced and delighted, I began crowing patriotically about the genius of American science. Then I realized…"Hmm, this might not be American technology." So I gingerly asked if it was…but yes, it is! Hooray! Another landmark for good ol' American know-how…another edge in our looming war with the rest of human civilization!


Rob said...

It is now official.

You have the greatest job.

In the world.

Miss Z's Classroom said...

Holy Future-schmuture! "Stewie" and "the Brain" just wet their pants a little. That's perhaps the scariest thing I've ever heard. Could be the first step in a reversal of the process, i.e. thought control. Mmmwhuhaha.

Glad to hear it's ours though. Not that that means it's necessarily the brainchild of an American. Sounds Swedish to me.

rakiel said...

i want one - i have great reflexes but i can't manage to work the multitude of control button combo's. this eliminates the manual dexterity constraint.

i'm sure your bro is willing to be "friendly" tester. he's using some pretty neat CAD software that zips around structural drawings like a game but is busy pin pointing collision spots in the design.

as to thought control... imagine the possibilities -wife's control the "honey do list" game and husbands control the "let's have sex"'s a fair trade :) :)

Brotherman said...

And people think the Wii controler is cool. Once this technology is capable of distinguishing about a dozen different thought patterns the possibilities will be endless. I've already seen footage of an amputee who has a prostetic arm that could clinch a fist controlled by thought. The idea being it's the nerves that carry the electric signal that are damaged and can be jumped. This could work for paralysis as well. At least in theory. But who cares about the potential medical benefits I want to be able to drive with no steering wheel or write this comment with no keyboard.