Neurable - a startup working on Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) - has combined its technology with improved VR experiences to churn out the future of gaming - a way that lets you navigate the world of virtual reality just by using thoughts.
Though the concept seems fancy, Neurable has actually unveiled a prototype peripheral that actually adds brain control to virtual reality. The company, in collaboration with a Madrid-based VR graphics company eStudiofuture, used this device to display a mind-controlled game called Awakening. They showcased how things would look when you pick up objects, stop lasers, or turn a robot dog into a balloon animal using your mind, instead of any old-school controller.
Neurable demoed the game on an HTC Vive headset after replacing its standard strap with a peripheral - an upgraded strap that came studded with seven electrodes. The strap then uses specific brain signals, known as event-related potential (ERPs), to trigger intention based actions to stimuli.
"BCIs analyse patterns of brain activity to determine user intent," wrote Neurable VP Michael Thompson in a post on Medium. "This tech is already capable of typing on virtual keyboards and controlling prosthetic limbs, entirely from brain activity."
VR is still at a nascent stage, but Neurable is stretching the technology to its limit with ambitious BCI based goals. CEO Ramses Alcaide tells IEEE Spectrum that they are now targeting VR arcades in 2018. "What we're showing off right now is a shortened version of the arcade game. We're not really a game company or a hardware company... But this game is the first thing we're looking to provide to VR arcades that are using our technology". Not to mention, the company also plans to tweak the design of the gear to make the strap sleeker and fancier.