Brain-waves games on the horizon.

Video games with action dictated by brain waves will be available by the end of the year, according to a Silicon Valley company that has created low-cost headsets.

A man dressed as Darth Vader from the “Star Wars” film series demonstrated the NeuroSky invention on Thursday by turning his toy light saber on and off at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco without pushing a button. “It’s like the Force,” he said, referring to the film premise that unseen energy could be tapped and channeled by the mind.

The credit actually goes to sensors that gauge people’s moods by measuring brain wave emissions, according to NeuroSky spokesman Greg Hyver. Readings are translated into video game action by computer software, Hyver said. Onscreen objects can be pushed or pulled by focusing intently on them and aiming with a computer mouse. Players “calm” their minds to lift things in the game.

The San Jose, California-based firm said it has sold development kits to game and toy makers that will have products to market by the end of the year. “The technology has been around for a hundred years,” Hyver said. “The problem was the cost, and we fixed that.”

Single-sensor headsets manufactured in Korea for NeuroSky are priced at $US50 dollars each if bought in volume. The technology could also be used in toys such as the mind-activated light saber or used to let MP3 players match music to one’s mood, according to Hyver. NeuroSky said it was also striving to get the technology in “brain games” and devices used by ageing Baby Boomers to maintain mental acuity.

Originally Written By: Sean


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