Interaxon crownfunding Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband

Few days ago I received an E-mail inviting me to contribute and spread the word about the Muse project, crowfunding at Indiegogo: http://www.indiegogo.com/interaxonmuse.

It reminded me when I had the chance to try one of these mind-reader headsets. It was a headset with an additional protuberance, much like a microphone, to stick on your front. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the company, and I even don’t know if they had some success. I’ll update the post once I find out the contact again.

But, what I clearly remember is how impressed, and let me say, a bit scared, I’ve been using the mind reader.

Let me tell you the story. The headset was presented as able to read the level of “concentration” and “relaxation” of the user. The operator was bringing my avatar around a in a virtual word, asking me to perform tasks like: “concentrate to lift up that box” and ”relax to put that car on fire”.

While trying to concentrate to make the box fly, I was distracted by a bottom bar showing the level of concentration. I mean, while telling me that I was succeeding in concentrating, it was in fact distracting me from the task! And the box kept on falling down several times.

Apart from the critics on the superficial GUI design, what heavily impressed me is that I could not “get away” from the game. By getting away I mean detaching from the immersion in order to reason on a strategy with some calm.  With traditions joypads you can raise up your body, relax your hands, exit form the screen and think how to perform next steps in the game. The game engine would not know that you lost your immersion.

With a head mounted brainwave readers you can’t afford it. In the moment you loose your immersion, hence you loose your concentration, the game engine would know it and can react accordingly. Isn’t it the best moment, dear AI, to slash the player with your sword?

Anyway, I’m dreaming of an RPG where wizards must “really” concentrate to cast spells ;-)

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