Is EyeMynd the Future of Virtual Reality?
Way back in 1982, a film was released that became a blockbuster hit. It was about an American veteran pilot sent on a covert mission to umm…steal this advanced Soviet developed prototype fighter jet. It was fast, had stealth and its weapon system was the revolutionary part, it was thought controlled.
In modern air-to-air combat, it takes a split of a second whether it would be you or your enemy to be the one to blow up and get pulverized all over the sky. Thought controlling your weapons while using your hands to maneuver your jet will give you that split-second advantage over your opponent. So, the Americans had to have it.
Of course, it was just a movie but current trends today seem to be heading in that direction. Imagine, operating devices with just your thoughts. Playing computer games with just your thoughts and probably doing your work with just your thoughts.
A scary thought indeed but with a huge potential especially in the medical field with paralyzed patients who can barely move. For us regular folks who enjoy playing computer games, we go back to the thought controlled weapon systems paradigm. A thought controlled Joystick or Mouse.
With the popularity of VR and AR, the possibilities of combining the thought controlled controller with both technologies have piqued the interest of both developers and researchers. This however is still at its early stages with VR and AR a little bit ahead, but if they continue development on these, they’d probably perfect it in the years to come.
There are currently several prototype products with regards to thought control. Headsets from Emotiv, NeuroSky and others are currently commercially available but at their current state will need continual updates and development to get this thought controlled computer link-up technology to be really useful.
At the same time, researcher Dr. Daniel Reed Cook PhD and his group at EyeMynd Brainwave VR are working on a product that combines thought control and VR itself. Imagine moving around in a virtual world using your thoughts and emotions as well as triggering events and reactions from your virtual surroundings with them. It would be an awesome combination.
Not much is really known about the project except that it is currently in the works and awaited by consumers, 3rd party developers and other researchers as well. Dr. Cook has been very actively involved in the development of complex computer programs that analyze brainwaves or thought patterns in the brain.
His research makes extensive use of Event Resolution Imaging technology or ERI. This detects minute patterns in brainwaves that cannot be easily seen and is able to analyze brain activity at an advanced level than current EEG analysis.
But then again, to have at least a basic understanding of the way our thoughts are detected and used, we have to at least know how the current thought control headsets read them using the technology of EEG or Electro-encephalography.
EEG today is very expensive that only hospitals and medical research facilities can put them to good use. They usually use an EEG cap loaded with electrodes that is placed on the patient’s scalp. It is places on top of one’s head and worn like a cap, it is non-intrusive meaning its external and doesn’t get into one’s body like all those needles and test probes used to lobotomize somebody. It just reads your brainwaves and that’s it.
To make things simple, when you have a thought, this creates electrical activities in the neurons or cells of your brain. Brain neurons number in the millions and every time you think or feel emotion, your brainwaves go active and the EEG can read this.
Each thought or feeling (stimulus) will trigger massive electrical activities in your brain in certain locations where the neurons for that specific thought sort of light-up with intense electrical activity. Though the electricity produces by your brain is only measured in Micro-Volts, it is enough to be detected by EEG devices that then amplify it for analysis.
The area in your brain where a massive amount of brain cells light-up is called a Local field potential or LFP. This is what is being recorded, analyzed and used by EEG devices and the current thought control headset systems in use today. Most of the devices though not only measure the signals from your brain but your eye muscle movements as well. The included device is called an Electrooculogram.
Now other people may think that wearing such a controller device that lets the computer read your thoughts, not exactly. What the computer will read is your brain activity and where specifically in your brain. The computer stores that information where it can be paired with a specific algorithm or programmed instructions that will tell the computer to execute a desired action.
You first let the computer store your thought data by thinking of an action or simply feeling something. Let’s say you want to move forward. Then you pair that stored data with the instruction set that makes a character on the screen walk forward. Once done, every time the computer reads that specific brain activity data from your head it will match it with other recorded brainwave activity data and when a match is found execute the programmed instructions that have been paired with it. Your game avatar moves forward.
That is how the computer learns then knows what you want it to do. No crystal ball, no ESP, no cards and no magic. Complex computer programming is what runs the show and if you pair this with VR, who knows how far it will go.
For now, we can only wait as the researchers and the developers of EyeMynd continue working on a device that promises to take VR computer gaming into another level. For now, use the old-school way, get up and do it yourself.