Play Video Games Using Mind Control: Electromyography
Source: Open Talk Magazine 04/02/2011 00:18:00
Ever had the experience of getting frustrated not finishing a level in a video game simply because of the crappy controls? All gamers had a fair share of these moments, either with the controllers having some mechanical failure, or the gamers themselves just sometimes can’t integrate the controls well enough. But new developments in gaming technology are about to change all that. Electromyography (EMG), a medical technique that records electrical signals in the body, is now used to create game controllers that can manipulate the game environment using only your mind.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the technique that records electrical signals produced by the brain. This is quite different from EMG, which instead records electrical signals from the body itself. EMG is specifically designed to be able to detect electrical signals from skeletal muscles, and the data that is recorded by this technique offers valuable data in the field of medicine. By using EMG, doctors are able to detect diseases that are directly related to abnormal neural activity, such as Myopathy or Alcoholic Neuropathy.
Aside from diagnosing diseases, EMG is also used to study the way electrical signals travel around the body, and how the skeletal muscles react to each type of neural signal received. These studies then opens opportunities for other kinds of research related to EMG, including its current application in the world of video games; to help gamers take control of the game one step further.
EMG is important in detecting which electrical signals actually trigger when you move your body muscles. This fundamental fact has been the basis for OCZ Technology’s Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA). Released in May 2008 commercially, it is an EMG-based head device designed to interpret the skeletal muscle signals of your face into computer commands and data. The device can connect to your personal computer as a multifunctional mouse for browsing around your computer, and as a game controller for your PC games.
It basically works by detecting your muscle tension levels. You register a specific command or key for each signature signal pattern on your skeletal muscles. Upon registering all commands and keys, you launch the program, and all you need to do is to replay the exact signal patterns in your mind to control the game or the computer in whatever way you want it to. Registering is the most difficult part, because a slight change in the electrical signals given can make the computer interpret it as a different command. Long practice with both the new control system and the registered signals are needed if you want to use the NIA to its full potential.
If you can master completely the way how NIA is used however, this gadget can potentially improve your gaming experience by up to 50%. It is truly a new and innovative way to play the games that you used to play with the mouse, keyboard or game controller. Move or do a command exactly the way you had pictured in your mind to do it. Be astonished at how you can practically access your computer or even surf the net by simply staring blankly at the screen.
If this kind of technology is even improved further in the future, you may even be able to use such devices as you go about your daily work in front of your computer.