LONDON Startup Emotiv Systems is demonstrating at this week's Games Developers Conference in San Francisco a headset that uses sensors to tap into electrical waves from the brain as a means of controlling games consoles and other computers.
The company which is just coming out of stealth mode and has offices in San Francisco and in Sydney Australia is also launching at the show the Emotiv Development Kit (EDK) which it says will allow developers to create games that respond to a player’s emotions and allow players to control their characters’ expressions and manipulate objects using only the power of their brain.
Emotiv says it plans to persuade games developers to adapt games to take advantage of the headset, which it plans to launch next year.
The company was founded by Professor Allan Snyder, one of the scientists behind the theory of optical fibers; chip-design pioneer Neil Weste; and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le and Nam Do. To date, the company has raised $6.3 million in funding, with investors that include Technology Venture Partners (TVP), Epicure Capital Partners and the Australian Federal Government.
Emotiv says its technology, which comprises the headset and a suite of applications, allows computers to differentiate between particular thoughts such as lifting an object or rotating it; detect and mimic a user’s expressions, such as a smile or wink; and respond to emotions such as excitement or calmness.
Initially, Emotiv is targeting the electronic games industry where its "breakthrough" in human computer interaction will enable games to respond to the players’ emotions and allow players to manipulate objects in the game using the power of their brain.
The software will first need to be trained to the user's thought processes and electrical reactions from the brain as he or she envisages pushing, lifting or turning objects.