There’s a massive amount of work going on in the field of virtual reality (VR) input methods, whether its Valve and the Knuckles controllers, omni-directional treadmills, data gloves by Manus VR and CaptoGlove, or gesture control by Leap Motion. All of this could be made somewhat redundant however with the advent of brain-computer interfaces from companies like Neurable. It recently took its latest model to SIGGRAPH 2017 where it debut Awakening, a VR videogame preview made in partnership with eStudiofuture – the company behind Fusion Wars.
For the first time Neurable has now unveiled its brain-computer interface (BCI) which replaces the HTC Vive’s normal head strap. The seven electrodes on the device read specific signals from a users brain activity known as event-related potential (ERP) signals, rather than using EEG, Spectrum reports. Neurable’s BCI tech is platform agnostic as well – the electrodes are off-the-shelf – its technology is all in the machine learning for the BCI software. So that means a company could simply make their own for Oculus Rift for example.
To promote the BCI, Neurable partnered with eStudiofuture to create Awakening. “Awakening is a futuristic story reminiscent of Stranger Things: you are a child held prisoner in a government science laboratory,” wrote Neurable VP Michael Thompson on a post on Medium. “You discover that experiments have endowed you with telekinetic powers. You must use those powers to escape your cell, defeat the robotic prison guards, and free yourself from the lab. The game allows you to manipulate objects and battle foes with your mind, and is played entirely without handheld controllers.”
Think this technology technology is far off? Well it looks like it’ll be getting a commercial release next year. “We’re targeting VR arcades in 2018,” Neurable CEO Ramses Alcaide told Spectrum. “What we’re showing off right now is a shortened version of the arcade game. We’re not really a game company or a hardware company… But this game is the first thing we’re looking to provide to VR arcades that are using our technology.”
As Neurable continues development, VRFocus will bring you further updates.
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