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Study Sees Volunteers Playing Doom With Their Brains

At this week's Emerging Technology Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers presented evidence suggesting that humans may interact with games using brain waves.

Frank Cifaldi

October 21, 2011

1 Min Read

At this week's Emerging Technology Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers presented evidence suggesting that humans may interact with games using brain waves. Researchers working with test subjects were able to tap into the human brain's alpha waves and translate them into commands that communicate direction with computers. In one particular demonstration, Wadsworth Center research scientist Gerwin Schalk presented video evidence of a test subject playing id's classic Doom on a computer. The player used a joystick to move about, but used thought commands to fire the gun -- with apparently accurate results. "What I'm here to tell you is that this is not science fiction. This is an emerging reality," Schalk said in his presentation. The test subjects used in the study already had their brains wired up for treatment of illnesses such as epilepsy. Companies such as Emotiv have been demonstrating variants on the concept for a number of years. These firms have worked using EEG sensors in the scalp, a much less invasive method. Other Schalk-tested demonstrations, though not game-related, included a program that could tell the difference between a brain thinking the sounds "Ah" or "Ooh," and one that was able to track the sound levels of music that a subject was listening to through brainwaves alone. More about the study is available in this report on Computerworld.

About the Author(s)

Frank Cifaldi

Contributor

Frank Cifaldi is a freelance writer and contributing news editor at Gamasutra. His past credentials include being senior editor at 1UP.com, editorial director and community manager for Turner Broadcasting's GameTap games-on-demand service, and a contributing author to publications that include Edge, Wired, Nintendo Official Magazine UK and GamesIndustry.biz, among others. He can be reached at [email protected].

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