Mind Reading Headset
You Think, Therefore, You Can



Mind Reading Headset by Emotiv
You Think, Therefore, You Can

Moving objects and controlling computers with nothing more than a thought has long been the purview of science-fiction. With an inexpensive, lightweight headset, Emotiv hopes to make that notion a reality for everybody.
Emotiv develops and sells a neuro-signal acquisition and processing wireless neuro-headset for gamers and disabled patients.



 
Mind Reading Headset by Emotiv
You Think, Therefore, You Can

Emotiv System's only current product is the Emotiv EPOC, a $300 peripheral for gaming on Windows PCs. Emotiv Systems claims the headset will make it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player's mind, and facial expressions.

It connects wirelessly with the PC, and may in the future work on other game platforms such as consoles. The Epoc was designed by a Emotiv Systems in conjunction with the Sydney based Industrial Design consultancy 4design.

 

Emotiv Systems is an Australian-origin electronics company developing brain–computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology.

Emotiv Systems was founded in 2003 by four scientists and executives: neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder, chip-designer Neil Weste, and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le (B. Comm. in 1998 from Monash University) and Nam Do.

The release date for the EPOC, their gaming-peripheral, is provisionally set for the fourth quarter of 2009, and on the official website it says it will ship on December 21st, 2009, with a price tag of US$299.

Emotiv System's only current product, which was released on December 21st 2009, is the Emotiv EPOC peripheral for gaming on Windows PCs.

Emotiv Systems claims the headset will make it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player's mind, and facial expressions.

It connects wirelessly with the PC, and may in the future work on other game platforms such as consoles.

The Epoc was designed by Emotiv Systems in conjunction with the Sydney based Industrial Design consultancy 4design.

The EPOC has 14 electrodes (compared to the 19 electrodes of a standard medical EEG, and the 3 of OCZ's NIA features and a multiple of NeuroSky's single electrode). 


It also has a two-axis gyro for measuring head rotation. The headset must first be trained to recognize what kind of thought pattern equates to a certain action. It can measure four categories of inputs:

1. Conscious thoughts (Cognitiv suite): Imagining 12 kinds of movement- those were in the demo application 6 directions (left, right, up, down, forward, and "zoom") and 6 rotations ([anti-]clockwise rotation, turn left and right, and sway backward and forward)- plus 1 other visualization ("disappear") that can be detected in µ rhythms.

While the current driver may only be able to listen for any 4 of these at a time, the degrees of freedom are larger than a joystick's 2 df. Ideomotor responses ("I found myself inadvertently tightening my stomach muscles, or raising an eyebrow when I tried to make the box float.

The Emotiv guy used his hands to try and cue himself to think the same way every time." (emphasis added) or the much stronger EMG currents aside, these thought commands effectively become hotkeys. Videos of Emotiv employees playing "The Game" show a high degree of difficulty in adapting and thinking right even as experienced users.

Users can train the 13 visualizations to totally different thoughts than the ones specified, but detection ability will be worse. Due to the complex detection algorithms involved, there is a slight lag in detecting thoughts.

However, the technology may still be useful in a support role like calling up a minimap or radar in a FPS game.


2. Emotions (Affectiv suite): "Excitement", "Engagement/Boredom", "Meditation", and "Frustration" can currently be measured.

Emotiv admits that the names may not perfectly reflect exactly what the emotion is, and says that they may be renamed before market launch.


3. Facial expressions (Expressiv suite): Individual eyelid and eyebrow positions, eye position in the horizontal plane, smiling, laughing, clenching, and smirking can currently be detected. Other expressions may be added prior to release. The expressions are detected by the EEG sensors picking up signals to facial muscles, rather than by reading brainwaves.

Unlike reading mental activity, these detections are very fast (10ms) conveying a decisive advantage and rendering them suitable for fast paced games in the FPS genre.


4. Head rotation: The angular velocity of one's head can be measured in the yaw and pitch (but not roll) directions. This is detected by gyros, and isn't related to the EEG features.



Mind Control Device Demonstration - Tan Le



Tan Le, co-founder and president of Emotiv Systems, gives a live demo of a mind control device that uses a person's thoughts to input computer commands.

EG is the celebration of the American entertainment industry. Since 1984, Richard Saul Wurman has created extraordinary gatherings about learning and understanding. EG is a rich extension of these ideas - a conference that explores the attitude of understanding in music, film, television, radio, technology, advertising, gaming, interactivity and the web - The Entertainment Gathering

Tan Le is an Australian telecommunications entrepreneur, businesswoman and the 1998 Young Australian of the Year. She is president and co-founder of Emotiv Systems.