Preparing for the era of mind games

2014-09-06 00:00

“WHAT will they come up with next?”

Every child born after the 80s has heard these words from their parents and grandparents.

Technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the past decade, taking over every aspect of human life. The next great step for technology has been taken, and it’s in the gaming industry.

What if you could throw away the controller to your Playstation or Xbox and control the game by yourself? Well, most would say Microsoft’s Kinect, Playstation’s Move and Nintendo’s Wii could all do just that: using your body as the controller.

But that’s old school now.

“Neurogaming”, which has been described as the next generation in virtual reality, seeks to immerse the player into the game at a whole new level. Neurogaming introduces pycho-emotional inputs from the player into the game, that measure anything from facial movement, voice, heart rate, eye tracking, brain activity and emotional state. By monitoring such brain activity, players can quite literally control the game with their minds.

Now combine that with devices like the “Oculus Rift”, which allows you to seamlessly gaze through the virtual world of a game just as you would in real life. This allows for a completely immersive experience unlike ever before.

Healthcare workers are increasingly working with game designers to create neurogames that have a therapeutic function. Such games will possibly be able to treat ADHD, PTSD, and other emotional and behavioural disorders.

David Venter, the editor of SA Gamer, expressed his excitement for the new age of gaming devices.

“With everything moving at such breakneck speeds in the world of technology, I expect this new era to be in our homes in the next five to eight years. Soon we’ll all really be couch potatoes with our brains driving, fighting, shooting or even planning our next move in a competitive eSports game,” he said.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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