Technology with attitude

The successful conclusion of OpenVibe2

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After three years of exceptional research in BCI control of computer gaming, the OpenVibe2 initiative has come to an end. This open-source initiative aimed to explore the possibilities of integrating EEG-based BCI technology into the video gaming world, both for entertainment and clinical purposes.

The project, funded by the French Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR),  has realized this goal with a great deal of success thanks to the work of premier BCI research institutes (INRIA, INSERM, CEA, and GIPSA-lab) and video game developers ( Ubisoft, Blacksheep Studio, Kylotonn Games). Together they have released 3 exciting proof of concept games, as well as 3 commercial ‘brain training’ games.

In contributing to the OpenVibe2 game initiative,  Ubisoft spearheaded a separate line of research in which they sought to characterize the ideal headset for a ‘neurogaming’ experience. However their findings were not included in the recent press release. The proof of concept games give a brainy spin to classic 2D arcade-style entertainment.

OpenVibe 2 MindShooter
A participant playing the MindShooter game developed by INRIA as part of the OpenVibe2 initiative

The first of these, MindShooter, is a space-ship shooter based on the concept of visuo-spatial attention – the idea that focusing ones attention on different parts of a visual scene can be detected at the level of brainwaves. To play this game, the user has to navigate a spaceship by focusing on the left or right-hand side of the ship , and fire on ‘enemy’ ships by focusing on them.

The second game, Brain Invaders, is a BCI based version of the classic Japanese game Space Invaders. This game is based on a reliable brain response that is produced when something ‘out of the ordinary’ occurs. For instance, picking out a specific type of alien from an array of aliens.

OpenVibe 2 BrainArena Football
Two participants playing Brain Arena, the BCI based football game developed by INRIA as part of the OpenVibe2 initiative

 

The third game, Brain Arena, allows users to compete against each other in a football game (the non-american kind) using only the brainwaves associated with shifting attention.

The commercial games include a gaming environment  targeted to treat ADHD (read the Neurogadget article here), as well as  Cocoto Brain and BCI Training Center.

Cocoto Brain is  a game for the Nintendo Wii in which the user must focus on ‘enemies’ to prevent them from destroying a fairy whom they have been tasked to protect.

BCI Training Center is a much more straight forward attention training environment, in which users can perform a variety of working memory tasks and track their progress using neural benchmarks of ‘relaxion’ and ‘focus.’

For more information, you can access the complete press release through aviesan.fr or watch a Youtube video in French reporting from the OpenVibe2 press conference.