Thought-Controlled Computers, Video Games The Next Leap In Technology

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The Times Online reports that the next leap in computer and video game technology is thought-control:

Satoru Iwata, the president and chief executive of Nintendo - which is expected to sell about 25million units of its successful Wii video games console this financial year - has no doubts about the next gaming boom. "As soon as we think something in our brain, it will appear within a video game," he told The Times in an exclusive interview.

"You'll probably need to wear some kind of hat or helmet or something..."

...As far-fetched as it sounds, Mr Iwata's claim - which brings to mind the plot of Craig Thomas's bestselling 1977 novel Firefox, about a mind-reading Soviet fighter aircraft - is already coming true: the world's first thought-controlled game is expected to be launched by the Sydney company Emotiv by the end of this year.

Co-founded by Allan Snyder, a neuroscientist and former University of Cambridge research fellow, Emotiv says its EPOC headset features 16 sensors that push against the player's scalp to measure electrical activity in the brain - a process known as electro-encephalography. In theory, this allows the player to spin, push, pull, and lift objects on a computer monitor, simply by thinking.

Despite widespread scepticism, pre-release tests have suggested that the technology works. "This is the tip of the iceberg for what is possible," said Tan Le, another of Emotiv's co-founders, during a recent press demonstration. "There will be a convergence of gesture-based technology and the brain as a new interface - the Holy Grail is the mind."

Related: Computer "Reads" Minds By Looking At Brain Scans