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Gamers Write

Brain Reading for Gaming

Neuralink, a sci-fi concept of having a device read your thoughts and send you information directly to your brain. But now it’s one of Elon Musk’s many companies. This company simply called Neuralink is creating a chip to put into your brain. The primary goal is to help those with damaged brains, mental problems, or damaged spines. However, he mentions that one day anyone could use this device to enhance their lives and “keep up” with AI which Musk believes will take over and phase out us as humans.

But this is not what I want to focus on since this technology is far off and is not for gamers. However, Looxid Labs and Neurable are two more companies working on non-invasive head-mounted devices used to read your brain for gaming, primarily for VR. Looxid Labs has created a device that mounts to existing VR headsets that stick off the top and up against your forehead. The device also includes eye-tracking, combining both brain scanning and eye-tracking to extract information from the user in order to be used as input for a VR game without the need for a controller.

photo from CES of Looxid Link headset brain scanning mount

The company Neurable does something very similar but instead, the brain-reading device is worn more like a helmet that covers more of your head. I can imagine this can allow it to control more things in VR with greater accuracy, but not much is know on how accurate either device is. The demo they used at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) had the user look at objects and select one for the game to bring to you. Usually, with just eye-tracking, this could have what is called a “Midas effect” where the user looks at something only briefly and it’s selected but with the technology of brain reading, you must use your brain to select the object. This solves problems and opens new avenues for gaming.

Neurable brain-scanning device, photo by Neurable

This is why I wanted to write this article because the possibilities of using your brain in gaming are endless and exciting. The first thing that comes to mind is telekinesis or the Force from Starwars. In games like Half-Life Alyx or Vader Immortal, you can sorta use the Force, but you have to use hand gestures and a button for it to work. But with this technology, you wouldn’t have to move a muscle. Without warning, you could pick up an object and hurl it at your enemies. This could also make navigating VR menus faster and easier, along with working alongside AI teammates. I wonder if, at a certain point, we could have games entirely controlled by our brains. For example, instead of having a chip inserted into our brain that sends the visuals and audio to us, we instead use a VR headset but just lay down and we walk, run, jump, use weapons and navigate menus with just our mind. This way nothing needs to be intrusive, but we can still have a nearly full dive experience.

Of course, anyone who’s seen the anime series, “Sword Art Online,” I’m sure they’re looking forward to technology like this to get us one step closer to a full dive gaming experience where we feel like we’re inside a videogame. I’m not sure how plausible that is with this technology but I do know we’ve made great advancements is force feedback, haptic feedback, and other VR technology. Perhaps in the next decade or so we could have a full-body VR experience. If any other great technology is revealed, you can bet I’ll be writing about it here.



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