Gaming, MyndPlay, Xwave and NeuroSky
Mind controlled games and other applications
Gaming and education are on the brink of another major milestone in technology as neurocontroled entertainment enters the consumer market. One company that gives us the ability to directly control software with our mind is MyndPlay. They've produced what they're claiming is “The world's first mind controlled video & movie platform.” It makes keyboards, gaming consoles and any other gaming hardware a thing of the past; we use our mental state to control plot and other changes in a movie, play in a game and use in a variety of other applications. They resemble earlier toys built on this technology but are much more sophisticated.
The gamer or controller dons a futuristic headset, made by NeuroSky. The headset picks up brainwave impulses from the forehead from a position neuroscientists call FP1 with medical grade precision, says the manufacturer; and the communication between the headset and PC or Mac is done via a wireless USB plug-in.
Software and applications
At present there are over thirty educational applications and games available for download from the app store and over a million headsets in the market. (Software and apps are available at the MyndPlay website.)
NeuroSky, the headset's producer, has built on the medical research of a partnership of many universities in the field including Yale, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, University of Wollongong, Trinity College and others. The research that underlies the headset cost, literally, billions of dollars. The less than $100 price tag for the headset seems absurdly cheap if it lives up to even some of the manufacturer's claims. It comes with some games and other programs that sound intriguing. For instance, a Meditation Journal will keep track of our meditation, attention, and brainwave recordings and present them to us in a series of data charts and accomplishments.
Research, developers, disabilities and other initiatives
NeuroSky is being used by the various universities to develop many different applications that pioneer the use of everything from limb and wheelchair control to a number of interesting learning initiatives. The company says that the EEG bio-sensor headsets digitize brainwave signals to power the user-interface of various games, computers, and medical software including an educational program that has been designed to help remediate the problems of ADD, for instance.
My best attempt to simplify the techspeak is to utilize an undoubtedly poor metaphor and say that the headset takes advantage of neurons tendency or ability to swim like a school of fish pursuing or focusing on an idea rather than a juicy bit of bait. Whereas it would be impossible to utilize individual neurons in such devices as it is hard to locate and track a single fish, movements of large numbers of neurons in a similar direction are much easier to detect, as are a school of fish, and make the inexpensive headset possible. It appears to take little training to have devices doing your mind's bidding. Tekkies can visit the NeuroSky website for a thorough and accurate explanation of the devise rather than the poor truncated account offered here. Also, the introduction on YouTube offers some insights into the technology as well as its many uses. (Among other things, others have the option of building apps.)
The First Mind Interactive Horror Movie
There's an intriguing trailer for what's billed as the world's first Mind Interactive Horror Movie that's been created by Treite Labs. for the MyndPlay platform.
Obviously we're viewing one of the first products that's built on a technology that will revolutionize many lives in profound ways such as those with disabilities and learning disablitities for instance. However, the full impact of the technology will revolutionize not only the way we play games but the way we, literally, think as we learn to control our minds to avoid hypertension, make ourselves more happy and unlock many previously inaccessible abilities to control our minds.
Apple Friendly Brainwaves
The Xwave is another headset that markets for under a $100 and is designed to give us a window into our minds; it allows us to train them to float objects in video games by simply thinking; again the devise can be used to practice meditation by detecting alpha waves, and there are a number of free and third party apps. Handily for Apple owners, it connects to any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It is worth checking out too; similarly, it is designed to be utilized with games as well as helping in the areas of attention, meditation and control. More expensive versions of the Xwave with additional features are destined to be released shortly.
Older Biofeedback Toys
There are toys that utilize biofeedback; one is called the Star Wars Science – Force Trainer designed to develop the minds of little Jedi and guide them, and interested adults, through 15 levels of mind mastery! The Force Trainer by Uncle Milty is similar toy. Both have been on sale for several years and have mixed reviews. Some sugget that those who experience problems with the products have not taken the time to read and practice the instructions properly.
Watch this site for feedback and important updates
If you're lucky enough to have used the technology, I'd welcome your views. The few reviews I have been able to find have not been too enthusiastic. One complaint suggests that the state of mind needed to help control the outcome of the movies, for instance, is one devoid of emotion that, not surprisingly, detracts from the enjoyment! These look warm reviews might suggest some caution prior to purchase.
And I am interested in all thoughts and comments on how you imagine this technology might be harnessed to improve either your life in particular or humanity's in general. I fully intend investigating this exciting and promising hardware and software, and I will post salient updates on this page from time to time. I have a birthday in the offing and hope to write about my first-hand experiences in the not too distant future!