The Gaming Headset

There’s a new headset coming to a computer games store near you – a neuro-headset that picks up the interaction of neurons in your head and converts this into gaming actions and movements. The firm behind this frankly amazing (or bizarre and hilarious depending on your point of view) gadget is Emotiv.

There are around 100 billion nerve cells in your brain, which emit an electrical impulse when you have thoughts, emotions and senses. The headset uses EEG (electroencephalography) to read this activity and translate it to movement and actions within the game.

Whilst there have been headsets that have come and gone in terms of electronic entertainment (with virtual reality headsets being the most infamous), this has been the first to take a step in the right direction. Even a facial expression by the player could then be transferred to an action in game.

A variety of emotions can be picked up by the headset, including excitement, meditation, tension, frustration, smiles, winks, laughter and much, much more. Imagine just thinking of going to a map location and picking up a weapon; smiling as you see it cause some destruction and activating something else. Sound good huh?

Of course, there are various limitations on such technology. The most obvious of which is that without some sort of wrap-around monitor, if you look too far to the left, your field of view will go beyond the screen in which you’re looking at. In other words, the tracking will have to perhaps make small movements big ones to counter the possibility of you being eliminated in your virtual world.

New technology is pushing gaming in the direction of better user interface devices and indeed hardware that ‘puts you into the game’ more. Game pads, joysticks and more have been around for a long time. Whilst as a hardcore gamer I’m against the Wii, I can certainly see why it’s the future.

As such, it is very much obvious that this sort of technology is a number of things. The first is that it’s not very far away at all. The second is that immersion rules gaming – whether it’s through physics, better graphics, sound, HD, or more.

Finally, I can only imagine how much fun this sort of peripheral is. Maybe it’ll be flash in the pan. Maybe it’ll break down the barriers once and for all between gamers and non-gamers. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’ll be taken up by Sony for the PS4… Satire aside, I really can’t wait to have a go with the ‘thought controlled headset’.

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