Representatives from start-up company Emotiv Systems, headed by ex-Xbox evangelist Ed Fries, have released details of the company’s first product: a helmet which can detect dozens of thoughts and emotions and correspond them to specific in-game actions.
The “Project Epoc” headset looks similar to a bicycle helmet and uses technology similar to that employed in the medical industry for electroencephalography. Emotiv claim that games designed using the Emotiv Development Kit (EDK) could allow players to move objects on screen simply by thinking about the actions, with the device apparently able to distinguish between thoughts such as “push”, “pull” and “spin”.
The EDK connects the headset to three different software programs, with the Expressiv application analyzing a player’s facial expressions. Affectiv measures emotional states and Cognitiv detects conscious thoughts.
No pricing for the EDK has yet been announced, but the company claims the headset will be available to consumers in 2008. Although the technology will be initially aimed at the games industry Emotiv also plan to sell variations for use in medicine, security, market research, accessibility design and interactive televison.
“Computer games have evolved dramatically, but the way players interface with a game has remained more or less constant. Innovations in this field have been extremely successful but few and far between,” said Fries, board director of Emotiv. “Brain computer interface technology presents an opportunity to revolutionize the gaming experience. Emotiv’s work signifies a real breakthrough in the space and, for the first time, makes it possible to use human thoughts and emotions to influence and enhance the gaming experience.”