One of my daughters received an invitation to a Wii birthday party. I mentioned it in passing to The Belgian Wonder as we were leaving church.”A what party?” he asked.”A Wii party,” I said, swinging my arm around as if I were holding one of the handsets.”Oh! I was thinking the other kind of ‘whee,'” he said. “Well, I guess it’s the hot new thing, isn’t it?””They’ll have a blast, I’m sure,” I said.”Until the next new thing comes along.””That’s true,” I agreed. “One day, the Wii will be Pong.””And we’ll say, ‘Remember when we had to hold something in our hand? Hahaha! That was so goofy! Now we just think it!'”I didn’t think I’d showed him the story I clipped a week or so ago from the Wall Street Journal (the WSJ article is archived, but I found a similar story from The Washington Post). “Did I show you that news story?””About what?””About the headset that reads your brain waves so that you can control an avatar’s movements with your thoughts?””No, but just think. One day we’ll say, ‘Remember when we used to have to wear a headset to move our avatars?'”His point? Don’t be too enamored with the new, because the new inevitably becomes old.My point? Doesn’t this brain-wave headset seem totally freaky?The Washington Post article wrote:
A start-up company called Emotiv Systems has developed a helmet-like headset that, it says, lets users control game characters with their thoughts.The device looks like something used for heavy-duty orthodontics, and it comes with receptors that read activity among the brain’s neurons. The player then teaches the device’s software to associate thought patterns with commands. According to the game news blog Kotaku, which got an early look, players could push and pull an object by willing it so or scare spirits away with a grimace.
Somewhere else I read that it detects over 30 different expressions, emotions, and actions, improving the realism of Artificial Intelligence characters. Following your brain’s signals, your avatar can wink, smile, laugh, or show anger. And gamers are able to move objects by simply thinking the action.The Redding story quoted the company president:
“This really fulfills the fantasy of video games and takes it to the next level,” said Tan Le, co-founder and president of Emotiv.
Eeew.Sometimes I wish we could return to the good ol’ days, circa 1972, when gaming was in its infancy…so simple and innocent.Just to take you back, I found on YouTube a video showing two minutes and thirty-four seconds of Arcade Pong play:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPkUvfL8T1I]Ah, those were the days.