Mind controlled game developer taps into users’ brains for feedback

PhD student from RMIT University's Games & Experimental Entertainment Lab in Germany wants to host a ‘jam’ session during Melbourne Games Week in October

Australian game developers may get the chance to participate in a neurogame ‘jam’ session for PhD research during Melbourne International Games Week from 23 October to 1 November, RMIT University announced.

Jens Stober, a PhD student from RMIT University's Games & Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab) in Germany, has built a mind controlled game prototype and recently hosted ‘jam’ sessions in Germany and Austria to help come up with creative concepts and feedback on the game. He wants to bring this to Australia in October.

"I think the future of game development will include EEG [electroencephalography] headsets and mind control," he told Techworld Australia.

"I think in the future neuroscientist could also be employees of game studios," he added.

The game, Ride Your Mind, uses an Oculus Rift virtual reality head display, neurofeedback or EmotivEEG brain computer interface with helmet, and noise-cancelling headphones.

When participating in the game, the player’s conscious competes with their subconscious, which trains the player to consciously use his/her brain to control the game environment as he/she would use hands. The player’s brain activity is visualised and displayed in real time on the Oculus Rift, which helps the player train their brain.

The EEG helmet is connected to Unity, a platform for developing and creating games, using Mind Your OSC (Open Sound Control – protocol for device communication), which broadcast the player’s neurofeedback signals from the brain computer interface.

“The idea of Ride Your Mind is based on my theoretical work about the history of hacking and the extraction of the creative process of hackers and my personal background as media and game artist.

“Hackers transformed computers from military devices into entertainment devices. I am transforming knowledge gleaned from neuroscience into neurogame design,” Stober said.

Stober needs help on the technology side of things to further develop and design mind controlled games.

“Working with brain-computer interface is very complicated at the moment. The setup can take up to 30 minutes, so this needs to improve to make it easier for designers and developers.

"It will take some more time until the technology is easy enough to use by consumers. And of course there needs to be more research about the functions inside the brain and how the signals can be interpreted and translated into the game environment. This research and development will take some more years."

At the moment, he is finalising the playable prototype, and is looking for feedback from users.

The game could also open up the opportunity to contribute to cognitive neurological research as it collects users' brain activity.

Stober can be contacted here.

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Tags electroencephalography (EEG)neurotechnologyNeuroscienceneurogaminggamingRMIT UniversitygamesOculus Riftvirtual reality

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