A brain-computer-interface or BCI, is a headset that reads brainwaves. It doesn’t read your mind exactly, but it can detect tiny changes in the energy that your brain radiates when you’re thinking or feeling a certain way. When you are relaxed, the frequency of your energy is different from when you’re feeling stressed out. A BCI can easily recognize what kind of energy frequency you have, and we use this information to create an involving gameplay experience.
A BCI does not distinguish emotion alone, thought can also be used as a way to play. You can use your mind to learn to control your actions, and involve yourself in the alluring magic that you may develop your thoughts into. As a gaming peripheral this futuristic technology is well suited to deliver the promise of a completely new way of interaction. Learning how to use cognitive control with a brain-computer-interface is an experience that truly falls outside of the realm of imagination. Becoming aware of your thoughts is unlike anything you’ve felt before.
In designing for the brain there are a lot of variables to take into account. We are complicated beings after all. But investigating the relationships between thought, emotion and play is very motivating. Because they provide clues about how we as conscious beings ‘work’. Designing for a BCI can so be a very intimate process, observing the mind and developing a growing understanding of how the brain works.
Consumer BCI’s are commercially available from these companies:
- The EPOC Headset is developed by Emotiv Industries. An advanced neuroheadset that is wireless and light-weight, and has 14 sensors that can be used for emotional, facial and cognitive controls.
- The MindSet is available from the company Neurosky. A comfortable headset with a single sensor that can detect attention, meditation and eyeblinks. It comes with working headphones, a built-in microphone and can also be used as a hands-free bluetooth headset.
- The MindWave is also made by Neurosky. This is a simple and durable headset that detects meditation, attention and eyeblinks. It’s light-weight, low-priced, and very user-friendly.