Sometimes you look at a friend and could swear they’re directly connected to the computer. New technology could soon make that the case. Professor Ushiba of Keio University has unveiled a brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows users steer characters with their thoughts, reports pinktentacle.
This looks like total science fiction, but don’t get too excited by the idea of total immersion video games just yet. Second Life is an ideal environment for testing such new innovations: it’s friendly, it’s popular and it doesn’t care if your input system isn’t very good yet.
Nothing it trying to kill you in Second Life (no matter what some of the less friendly natives say). Whether you go left, right, or right after a couple of seconds of trying doesn’t make a huge difference. In games with rocket launchers and energy swords that can be the difference between life and death.
The controls are so far limited to basic steering – which is like saying the Apollo rockets were "limited" to going to the moon. This is an incredibly exciting innovation in an exciting field that should be supported watched with interest. The inventors are working on expanding the number of commands possible.
Besides, the aim isn’t to help you frag fratboys across the Forge. A promising application for these BCI’s is allowing those with disabilities to move and interact online. Who knows, maybe those who insist Second Life can provide a real life for players will be right one day.
The next landmark will be a system which isn’t limited to "input only". Nobody has designed a system that can inject images and feelings into the human brain. You’ll know when somebody does because people will stop going outside.