Technology with attitude

NeuroGaming 2013: day one conference roundup

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After a full day of stimulating discussion and presentation of neuro-gadgetry, the conference has wrapped up for the evening. Among the highlights were a chance to try out the Foc.us tDCS headset mentioned in our first impressions post, and sit down to do an interview with InteraXon’s Ariel Garten (stay tuned, the interview will be posted soon).

Overall, there are two major themes that are being discussed: The use of neurotechnology to allow for a more natural interaction between humans and machines (ie. to enhance user experience), and the use of neurotechnology in a clinical setting.

The first discussion panel of the day on ‘Sensory Gaming Platforms’ focused heavily on the first of these two major themes. According to Stanley Yang, the CEO of NeuroSky, the motivating force behind the development of human-machine interaction devices should be to “have Machines conforming to humans” and not the other way around.

Disney’s Ali Israr also weighed in on the use of haptic technology in human-computer interaction. Products such as the TeslaTouch, a Disney developed touch-screen interface that provides touch feedback, have the potential to make interacting with an object depicted on a screen even more interactive and lifelike. Likewise, Disneys Surround Haptics research team is devising ways of integrating tactile feedback into a variety of devices such as movie theatre seats, and even clothes.

Tactical Haptics, one of the exibitors, was demonstrating their “Reactive Grip” Skin Stretch Tactile Feedback. They were specifically interested in demonstrating how tactile feedback can enhance user experience. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try out this device on a few simple games.

Demonstration of the Tactical Haptics device
Demonstration of the Tactical Haptics device

Tactical Haptics

The Tactical Haptics project ties in nicely to the second major theme that is emerging from this conference. Namely, the clinical applications of these devices. While the device can create a much more integrative experience while playing a first person shooter, it can also provide much needed feedback to the hand of a surgeon during robotic surgery. It could also, for instance, be used for physical rehabilitation.

As alluded to in our previous post, Advanced Brain Monitoring’s B-Alert system is also demonstrating a device aimed to restore basic hand function to those with spinal cord damage. Also featured at the conference is the ANT Neuro team, with videos of the MindWalker device. The team is giving demonstrations of their impressively compact ‘eegosports’ EEG/EMG platform.

Antneuro EEG device
Antneuro EEG device

The talk of medical applications is increased 10-fold for all of the portable EEG devices. The final panel on ‘Engaging Mind and Body’ was dominated by discussion of biofeedback as it relates to the treatment of ADD/ADHD and the value of meditation. Even the team with the NeuroDisco installation, which uses the Emotiv EPOC headset to control elements of musical composition (and a giant glowing neuron) was discussing the potential use of their interface in music therapy for treatment of something such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Another potential avenue of treatment for PTSD featured at the conference is Sensory Acumen‘s GameSkunk, a device which delivers scents at appropriate times of gameplay in order to create a more immersive experience.

NeuroDisco

Demonstration of the NeuroDisco installation.
Demonstration of the NeuroDisco installation.
Photo of the Foc.us tDCS device
Photo of the Foc.us tDCS device

More updates will be coming soon here on NeuroGadget live from San Francisco from the first ever NeuroGaming Conference and Expo!