Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another consumer BCI

The OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator, made by a mostly gaming RAM and peripheral company, is nearing completion and is set to become the first official consumer BCI. This is no Emotiv system, with only a few measly dry electrodes in a headband, but who freakin' knows? I have already placed a review request using my press creds, but will post the info here as well. The below German video is the best, I think. Watch the user's forehead twitch to control the system. There are a few others on YouTube.

The breakdown of signals will probably be something like 80% muscle EMG, 17% eye EOG, and 3% neural EEG. By that I mean the usefulness, since EMG will complete wash out any EEG and probably all EOG, depending on many factors. What will be interesting is trying to actually push the EEG portion. If/when I get ahold of one of these (I'll buy one if I have to), you can bet I'll be trying to hack the crap out of it (eventually. in the short term I'd like to see the waveforms, if the bundled software doesn't show them to you). The post here will be meant to compliment the Digital Trends post, which will focus on usability, with a more critical look at the science behind it.

Like always, there's that divide I talk about between what is really using neural signals to perform a useful action, and what is using some mesh of signals to perform a similar action in a more convenient package. The scientist side of me says, "Bah! What trash!" But the gadget geek side says, "Awesome! I want one!" Unfortunately, the gadget geek side always wins in issues concerning purchases.

Via Engadget
Official OCZ press release

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