Emotiv Expressiv Suite

I was invited Wednesday at the Emotiv booth at GDC for a private demo of their prototype product that they are launching as a SDK (Software development Kit) for game developers. They will launch a consumer product (no information about it yet) next year. According to Emotiv technology, it is the first brain computer interface that can detect human conscious thoughts and non-conscious emotions, including those represented by brain activity patterns unique to a particular individual.

The main applications so far are 3D characters that reflects the player’s expressions (smiles, winks, see the photo) and the manipulation of virtual objects using the player’s thoughts to do so! I can see this so well in the Sims or Second Life, or applied to the user’s avatar in regular chatting services.

The EDK ( Emotiv Development Kit) comprises a prototype headset with multiple sensors for monitoring the brain activity and a series of application development suite:

The Expressivâ„¢ suite can identify facial expressions in real-time, allowing developers to create characters that respond to the expressions of the player, such as smiles and winks.

The Affectivâ„¢ suite measures players’ discreet emotional states, allowing a game to respond to the player’s emotions, such as excitement or calmness.

The Cognitivâ„¢ suite detects players’ conscious thoughts, enabling them to move or manipulate objects just by thinking about an action, such as push, pull, lift or rotate.

Emotiv Cognitiv Suite: lift object
Emotiv Cognitiv Suite: lift object
Emotiv Cognitiv Suite: lift object

On the first photo, you can see the Expressiv suite capabilities, the user’s 3D avatar is smiling at the same time the user is. On the second series of photos, you can see the user lifting a stone in a game just by thinking about it (the hands movement helps him concentrate on the thoughts, it works without using the hands).

How it works? The human brain contains around 100 billions nerve cells, the neurons, they have an electrical activity that can be monitored using electroencephalography (EEG). The brain computer interface technology observes an individual’s brain activity and process it, so that thoughts and emotions can be integrated to an application.

Emotiv Technology could be applied to other industries, including interactive television, medecine, security. One of his four founders, Allan Snyder, is an internationally recognized scientist, inventor of the theory behind optical fibre and a winner of numerous awards, medals and fellowships, including the 2001 Marconi International Prize.

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