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Emotiv Systems is an Australian-origin[1] electronics company developing brain-computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology. Emotiv Systems was founded in 2003 by four scientists and executives: neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder, chip-designer Neil Weste[2], and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le (B. Comm. in 1998 from Monash University)[3] and Nam Do[4].

EPOC, their gaming-peripheral, release date is provisionally set for 2009, with a price tag of US$299[5]. For comparison with OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator and other devices, see Comparison of Consumer Brain-Computer Interface Devices.

Emotiv EPOC Edit

This sub-article is about Emotiv EPOC, a peripheral for gaming on Windows PCs. For other uses, see EPOC (disambiguation).

Emotiv System's only current product, supposed to be released in summer 2009[6][7], is the Emotiv EPOC peripheral for gaming on Windows PCs. Emotiv Systems claims the headset will make it possible for games to be controlled and influenced by the player's mind, and facial expressions. It connects wirelessly with the PC, and may in the future work on other game platforms such as consoles.

Inputs Edit

The EPOC has 16 electrodes [8] [5](fewer than a standard medical EEG but far more than the OCZ NIA which, has 3 electrodes on the front of a headband, and the NeuroSky, which has only one). It also has a two-axis gyro for measuring head rotation.

It can measure four categories of inputs:

  • Conscious thoughts (Cognitiv suite): Imagining 12 kinds of movement (6 directions and 6 rotations), plus 1 other visualization ("disappear"), can be detected. However the current driver can only listen for any 4 of these at a time. Videos of Emotiv employees playing The Game show a high degree of difficulty in performing these mental actions, even for experienced users. Users can train the 13 visualizations to totally different thoughts than the ones specified, but detection ability will be worse[citation needed]. Due to the complex detection algorithms involved, there is a slight lag in detecting thoughts, making them more suitable for games like Harry Potter than FPS games.[1]
  • Emotions (Affectiv suite): "Excitement", "Engagement/Boredom", "Meditation", and "Frustration" can currently be measured. Emotiv admits that the names may not perfectly reflect exactly what the emotion is, and says that they may be renamed before the product release.
  • Facial expressions (Expressiv suite): Individual eyelid positions, horizontal eye position, eyebrow position, smiling, laughing, clenching, and smirking, can currently be detected. Other expressions may be added prior to release. The expressions are detected by the EEG sensors due to signals to facial muscles, rather than by reading brainwaves. Unlike reading mental activity, these detections are very fast (10ms)[citation needed] and are suitable for fast paced games like the FPS genre.
  • Head rotation: The angular velocity of your head can be measured in the yaw and pitch (but not roll) directions. This is detected by gyros, and isn't related to the EEG features.

Software & SDK Edit

The Emotiv EPOC will ship with a game by Demiurge Studios, previously called "The Game", built on the Unreal engine. Videos of portions of the game have been shown at conferences and in media interviews. The game involves a first person view of the user walking around a virtual environment, with many different activities at different locations. The sky changes color according to the mood of the player. Demonstrated activities in the game include pushing and rotating giant stone structures into the shape of stone henge, then raising a temple from below the ground; levitating a large rock and some smaller ones; repairing a bridge; bending a tree; and scaring away glowing spirits with scary facial expressions.

The EPOC also includes "EmoKey" software used to emulate keystrokes based on combinations of thoughts, feelings, and facial expressions. Any EPOC detection can be paired with keystrokes or string of keystrokes through a simple user interface by the end user. Future versions will also emulate the mouse based on the gyros. This software allows most existing games, instant messaging programs, and other software to be controlled with the headset.

There is also a planned web site known as "Emortal", for listening to music, viewing photos, and other activities, modified based on what you are thinking and feeling.

And there is Emotiv Control Panel, also seen in many videos, which allows users to train the various thoughts, such as "push" and "disappear", and test them on a floating, bobbing, cube. It also allows users to view their emotional state, such as "excitement", on a graph. And it has a 2D Blue Avatar for viewing their own facial expressions, and adjusting the sensitivity of those detections.

A free SDK (called SDK Lite) is also available for download from the Emotiv website. It includes software to emulate the Emotiv EPOC for developers who do not have one of the (beta version) headsets. A SDK interface will give Linux users a more powerful control for recoding and modification of the Emotiv head set for other game consoles and programs.

Marketing Edit

At the Game Developers Conference 2008, in San Francisco an Emotiv headset was among the new video game input devices there. The demo played with the Emotiv was a puzzle where the player rebuilds Stonehenge. To do so, the wearer did hand motions such as, pushing and pulling to restore Stonehenge. [9]

Competitors Edit

Emotiv has two main commercial-competitors in the area of consumer EEG technology for gaming- and PC-users. The competitors have gone for a lower price, but with much fewer electrodes and thus less detections[citation needed].

OCZ has a $160 US Neural Impulse Actuator with 3 electrodes on the front of a headband[10]. OCZ are hoping to gain market share by bringing their product out first (May, 2008). Unlike Emotiv, they are marketing it as a faster, more efficient way of controlling existing games and applications (mostly using facial expressions), instead of as a more immersive way of triggering magical abilities in games or making avatars show your facial expressions.

NeuroSky has a very cheap single electrode headset. However they are not marketing it directly to the public. They are selling their technology in bulk to other companies for those companies to incorporate into their products. Currently Neurosky's headset can only detect the strength of two emotions[citation needed].

There is also an existing game machine table based on EEGs, called Mindball (Interactive Productline in Sweden). Players must move a ball on the table by relaxing and not thinking, until the ball reaches the opponent's circle. The machine costs roughly $20,000 US and is usually rented out to groups. Two players sit across from each other at a table, focusing on a small white ball. The objective is to make the ball roll toward your opponent and away from you, using only your mind. Headbands measure the players´ alpha waves, and the ball rolls away from the player with the calmest mind.

Several other companies - including EmSense in Monterey, California; NeuroSky in San Jose, California; and Hitachi in Tokyo - are also developing technology to detect players´ brainwaves and use them in next-gen video games.

EmSense, also in San Francisco, offers technology that focuses on business uses, according to its Web site. It also makes a headset that monitors a person’s neurological and biological impulses to measure the effectiveness of advertising and political speeches.

References Edit

See also Edit

External links Edit

de:Emotiv Systems