Neurophilosophy

Sega is developing toys controlled by brainwaves

Sega is to develop toys controlled by thought, in collaboration with NeuroSky, a Silicon Valley-based start-up company that interfaces biological feedback (such as brain waves) to consumer electronics.

The toys will be based on NeuroSky’s ThinkGear, a brain-computer interface (BCI) consisting of a headset which incorporates an EEG. The device is basically the same as the BCIs used to control Second Life avatars and Google Earth, but looks much slicker than either.

BCIs can actually be used for more worthwhile purposes. For example, invasive devices consisting of electrode arrays implanted into the brain have been used to control prosthetic limbs and speech production software.

Last year, surgeons at Washington University in St. Louis made particularly innovative use of such a device: the implantable BCI  they used to localize the origin of a 14-year-old’s epileptic seizures was interfaced with an Atari games console, so that the patient could play “mental” Space Invaders while they all waited for a seizure to occur.

The concentration required for controlling something using non-invasive BCIs has proven useful in alleviating the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy and various other psychiatric conditions, so the products in Sega’s pipeline could potentially be of some benefit to children with these conditions.

NeuroSky’s Think Gear headset is explained further, and demonstrated, in the film clip below.



[Via Wired]

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    December 11, 2007

    If this product line takes off, the company may have to change its name to sEEGa.

  2. #2 Mike
    December 12, 2007

    I have been a neurofeedback practitioner for a few years. The biggest barrier to widespread use is the expense of the equipment. If Sega and Neurosky were able to figure out how to get valid data without using expensive medical grade equipment costing in the thousands of dollars, this will be a very successful product.

  3. #3 Nemo
    December 14, 2007

    “Pft. You have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy.” — Some Kid, talking about an old arcade game in Back to the Future 2.

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