London, Nov 25 : Ever thought of a device that could translate your thoughts into onscreen movements? Well, it seems that scientists have made it quite possible, for they have developed a gaming device that could do so.
Scientists at the American laboratory for now call the device as Epoc, but when it will be launched early next year in Britain and the US it will probably be known simply as the 'mind-reading helmet', capable, supposedly, of knowing what users are thinking.
The new technology is being called as a revolutionary breakthrough in the way that humans will be able to interact with computers.
Its implications are massive, opening the possibility that one day people will be able to control everything from light switches to the cursor on their computer screen simply by thinking about it.
However, for now, the device will be used as the ultimate gimmick: to play computer games simply by thinking your screen character into action.
Emotiv Systems, the San Francisco Company that has created the device, said that Project Epoc could mean the end of joysticks and keyboard bashing.
Instead games players will be able to visualise a move in their head and that move will be replicated on the screen in front of them.
As far as working of the helmet is concerned, in simple terms it relies on the fact that every time a human thinks about something, electrical impulses are triggered in the brain.
The company claims to have refined the technique to isolate and identify the electrical patterns that are given off when humans think about a given course of action, such as moving their arm to the left or right or depressing their right thumb or index finger. The device recognises these electrical patterns and translates them into 'real' movements on the screen.
To look at, the helmet resembles nothing so much as a novelty head massage gadget with several spidery arms curving around the head and meeting at the top. The arms are fitted with a total of 16 sensors positioned so they are in contact with the relevant part of the head and pick up electric signals in the brain.
The system's software analyses these signals and then wirelessly relays what it detects to a receiver plugged into the USB port of the game console or PC. The company says it has mapped 12 specific actions that the helmet will recognise and can be reproduced in standard games.
As with handwriting or voice recognition software, the machine has a learning curve, improving as it better understands what the player is thinking. Miming an action can help the helmet wearer visualise the movement they want to recreate onscreen.
"The detection works best when you think about an action in a particular way, repeating that thought pattern," Times Online quoted Randy Breen, Emotiv's chief product officer, as saying.
Breen added that the device tends to work better with kids than adults.
"Part of that is because the kid doesn't have the same kind of barriers as an adult does. Lots of kids can fantasise about moving a cup and believe it," Breen added. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI