Emotiv pioneers new mind games

A device that can read thoughts and emotions will be unveiled at a developers’ conference on Wednesday as a new way of playing video games.

Emotiv, a start-up company with offices in San Francisco and Sydney, Australia, will demonstrate a headset that uses sensors to tap into electrical waves from the brain.

They can sense levels of excitement and tell if a person is smiling, angry, winking or raising their eyebrows.

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco will also be shown how gamers can use the power of thought to move objects around.

The aim is to persuade them to adapt games they develop to take advantage of the new device, which will go on sale next year.

In a pre-launch demonstration to the Financial Times, Emotiv showed how Electronic Arts’ Harry Potter and the Goblets of Fire could be adapted so that a player could use the headset to lift, push and rotate objects and cast spells.

The software needs to be first trained in the player’s thought processes and electrical reactions from the brain as they imagine pushing, lifting and turning objects.

Randy Breen, chief product officer and a former executive at EA and LucasArts, said the software code could be added to a game late in the development process without impacting on its budget. “If emotions can become a central element, I think it’s easy to see how video games can appeal to a broader audience, especially women,” he said.

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