OCZ NIA Brain-Computer Interface - HotHardware

OCZ NIA Brain-Computer Interface

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Gaming controllers, be it a gamepad, joystick, wheel or mouse, are some of the central defining elements of any gaming experience. Any gamer with a modicum of experience knows how a bad controller or control scheme can completely ruin the experience of playing an otherwise excellent game. Judging from the huge variety of input devices available, we put a high value on the kind of immersiveness that a good controller-to-game match can create.

While game controllers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, the input technologies they feature are surprisingly universal. Nearly all game controllers receive some or all of their input from various switches of some type. More advanced controllers may also incorporate analog sticks, throttle wheels, visual sensors and motion sensors. Regardless of which combination of these input technologies are incorporated into a controller, the end result is nearly always a device that is controlled with the hands or feet, so it was quite refreshing to learn that OCZ's idea of a game controller doesn't require any of your extremities to operate.

OCZ Technology has laid claim to being the first company to bring a "brain-computer" interface to the retail market and they have aimed it squarely at the gamer. The device is called the NIA, which is an acronym that stands for Neural Impulse Actuator, and instead of buttons, sticks, gyroscopes or motion sensors, it reads the body's natural biosignals and translates them into commands that can be used to control PC games.





The NIA is able to detect three types of biosignals generated by your brain, facial muscles and eye muscles via a special headband. The user can bind these signals to any keystroke using the driver and configuration software.  This allows the NIA to take the place of any keyboard command in any game. OCZ claims the NIA allows for a new level of immersion not possible with traditional tactile input devices. Not to mention the obvious advantage in input response time that a brain-computer interface could provide.

Now you may be understandably skeptical, as we certainly were. The whole concept of the NIA sounds more than a little outlandish. When we first heard of OCZ's interesting "brain-computer" interface a couple of years ago, we couldn't help but have visions of The Matrix. The very notion of controlling a computer with the mind conjures up images of exotic, fictional technologies from sci-fi movies. We were also slightly skeptical about the NIA's ability to improve our gaming experience, even if it were to work as advertised. Don't get us wrong, controlling the computer hands-free with our mind sure sounds neat, but we really like our mice, keyboards and gamepads. Perhaps we're old fashioned but there is at least one member of the HotHardware team that thinks the keyboard and mouse are the only input devices you will ever need, well at least for the foreseeable future.

As pundits at a computer hardware publication, there is only one way we know how to settle our suspicions and curiosity, as well as try and shed some light on this product for you. So we've obtained a retail-ready NIA sample and have put it through its paces to see for ourselves if it's the real deal or just another gimmick product.
 

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recoveringknowitall:

I wonder how this thing'll work out for people with chemically imbalanced brains i.e. skitzos, etc. lol!!!

 

Now that funny recovering! I dont care who you are thats funny! Seeing how it is that I,ve had 2 Brain surgeries and they scrambled things around a lot in there and my motor skills and my cognitive thinking skills SUCK this just might have to be some of my new RIG arsenal. Im serious how much does one of those toys cost! Hmmmmm I wonder if I can get my medicare and Humana policy to pay for me one for MEDICAL Necessecity! LOL   Well Its a thought then I might be able to go to combat with some of you guys online playing crysis and others. Others I,ll have to put up a donation cup at some stores around here! LOLWink

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I'm pleasantly surprised to see that it's more than I expected (a face twitch sensor).

Does OCZ have plans to make this work with any consoles or alternate OS's?  I play most games on PS3, 360, and Wii... and only occasionally use WINE to play CS:Source or EQ on Linux.

If not for the Windows-only aspect, I'd buy one right now.

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Looks like fun.. For those with the time to devote to learning the device, it could really turn out to be quite a bump to ones gaming. Especially if one has the time, on a day to day basis.

Considering we have limited understanding of our own brains, and their capability.

Tho, truly, the potential of such a device is limited only by one self.

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Get Moving in Cyber Space

Imagine your motor cortex fully activated while you have full muscle tone but both what your cortex says you are experiencing and what you are actually experiencing are not what you body is actually doing. You were trained to do this on a brain computer interface. Highly Skilled lucid dreamers in intense sessions and brain tomography on the level of seismic tomography make this all possible. Accessing the brain thru non-invasive means is vital in Berlin where Brain Computer Interfacers and the Locked-in are moving things with only their minds; however, one might say that all this research is treading water awaiting advances in Neuro-surgery.  I’m pitching the thoroughly developed non-invasive technique as a necessary prelude to the invasive interface.  I’m just looking for sympathetic places to post the story I’m telling in the form of a fictitious photo journal.

http://loreta-mocap-bci.blogspot.com/

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Thanks for the suggestion, I wish it had worked.Stick out tongue

 

simulation credit auto

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Accessing the brain thru non-invasive means is vital in Berlin where Brain Computer Interfacers and the Locked-in are moving things with only their minds; however, one might say that all this research is treading water awaiting advances in Neuro-surgery.  I’m pitching the thoroughly developed non-invasive technique as a necessary prelude to the invasive interface.  I’m just looking for sympathetic places to post the story I’m telling in the form of a fictitious photo journal.

 

nature cleanse

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This is a waste of time in my mind , controllers like the Novint Falcon are gonna leave these kind of weird experiments hidden in the shadows.

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This whole idea frightens me. I definitly think we should try and get a better understanding of the human brain before we start tinkering with this sort of experimental stuff. Besides, I am indeed quite satisfied with my mouse and keyboard combo.

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I think the problem would be keeping focused on the game. Wouldn't it be easy to get distracted and send random commands to the game?

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I think the problem would be keeping focused on the game. Wouldn't it be easy to get distracted and send random commands to the game?

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