Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where's the NIA?

As of April 15, 2008, the NIA is still to be released... without an SDK either.

I'm sure somebody will figure out a way to hack something together.  How about changing channels with your face, or preventing a nuclear disaster just by grimacing. Homer and his reaching broom would be proud.

Carl, at this point there is no SDK, the control console allows the mapping of different keyboard keystrokes to the various nia joysticks. The product will be released shortly and we have had almost more coverage in the media than we like including pretty good descriptions of how it works, all it takes is a Google search to find the relevant coverage. We are working with a number of third party companies already that have expressed interest in the nia, however, we prefer to have a bullet-proof product on the shelves before releasing the gory details. Likewise, as long as the software is still undergoing some changes, an SDK would not make sense.
As for Emotiv, they take a different approach than we do.

Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA)??? - OCZ Forum

Homer climbs the side of the ready to burst tank. He passes signs pointing to the "manual shutdown" switch. As the workers count off the last few Iroquois Twists, Homer struggles to reach the switch, only to fall and grab clutching at the catwalk above the tank. "Stupid switch!" he laments, "I wish I had my reaching broom! Wait a minute, there's probably a --" The tank explodes, venting green gas with great force. Homer falls screaming into the tank opening, his tremendous girth sealing the opening and ending the crisis. Later, all the employees gather to applaud Homer.

Burns: Homer, your bravery and quick thinking have turned a potential Chernobyl into a mere Three Mile Island. Bravo! [Places an award around Homer's neck.]

Lisa: I think it's ironic that Dad saved the day while a slimmer man would have fallen to his death.

Bart: And I think it's ironic that for once Dad's butt prevented the release of toxic gas --

Marge: Bart!

So what's the different approach?


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.

OCZ has a $160 US Neural Impulse Actuator with 3 electrodes on the front of a headband. OCZ are hoping to gain market share by bringing their product out first (April, 2008). Unlike Emotiv, they are marketting 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 marketting 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.

There is also an existing game machine table based on EEGs, called Mindball. 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.

It appears Sega is back in the game too, according to this Italian designer of the Mindball table.


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