Ben Arnold, our Guest Blogger, is a long time worker in the tech support industry and loves to get his hands dirty supporting the latest gadgets and computer technology; that is, when he's not battling the frigid Eastern Iowa winter weather. He wanted to share his latest gadget finds with the readers of InventorSpot.com.
Here's his article:
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First, there were video games, and they were good. Then, they evolved into a console system like the Nintendo Wii, and there was much rejoicing. Now, they have evolved again. This time, you control them with your mind. You read that correctly. Emotiv has been developing their EPOC system since March of last year but gave the first public unveiling of their consumer video game system at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, California, on February 19th, 2008.
They held several sessions, including one highly interactive demonstration in which the presenter manipulated a box or cube with his thoughts, making it move around and disappear. Emotiv then announced that the EPOC system would be available for consumers by Christmas of 2008 and would retail starting at $299.
The EPOC utilizes a neuroheadset that looks like something straight out of a sci-fi film. The device's core functionality comes from fourteen neurosensors, some sitting atop the head and some extending down on finger-like apparatuses. Emotiv has recognized that each human brain is unique and has built a "learning technology" into their EPOC system that can be likened to that of a universal remote control. In the same way a user of a new universal remote control has to teach it which devices the remote will be controlling, sometimes by letting the remote sense button pushes from the device's current remote control, one must also teach the EPOC how to correctly read her thoughts or brain waves.
Short-sighted indeed is the person who believes that the implications of the EPOC technology stop with video games. Indeed, Emotiv itself is not a video game company but a human-brain research outfit. Emotiv's website claims that their mission is ". . . to create the ultimate interface for the next-generation of human-machine interaction, by evolving the interaction between humans and electronic devices beyond the limitations of conscious interface." It is clear then, that Emotiv considers the EPOC system to be one stop on their journey of evolving the way humans interact with computers and machines. The neuroheadset technology behind the EPOC system likely will lend itself to other areas, such as advanced medical procedures and virtual-training simulations. Not to mention that physically disabled individuals could now potentially utilize computer applications in ways previously impossible. Emotiv has announced that they will work with IBM to identify potential business applications for their EPOC system.
Who can say what the future holds for Emotiv or its EPOC gaming system, but one thing is for sure: controlling computers and machinery with mere thoughts is definitely the ultimate goal for human interaction with machines. The EPOC system by Emotiv definitely brings us closer to achieving that goal.
You can see it in action here.