It still looks like a sci-fi device, but brain control helmet has been already created and will be released as a gaming gadget this years.
An American/Australian firm called Emotiv announced that -later this year- they will be releasing a neuro-helmet which "allows the user to manipulate a game or virtual environment naturally and intuitively."
The helmet, called Epoc, " picks up electrical activity from the brain and sends wireless signals to a computer," said Tan Le, president of Emotiv.
Epoc implements a technology known as non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) to read the neural activity of the brain by capturing the electrical pulses neurons (nerve cells) emit while interacting.
Reading neural activity is not completely new as it has been implemented several times since the seventies but, according to Ms. Tan Le, "this is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and does require gel on the scalp. It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars."
In addition to understanding the player's movement and action orders, Epoc also detects his emotion and relay it to the game so that his avatar would reflect them. "If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous", said Ms. Le.
Epoc will retail for $299. It is able to more detect than 30 different expressions, emotions and actions. The helmet also includes a gyroscope to detect movements and it connects to the pc wirelessly through a USB dongle.
Emotiv is working with IBM to develop the technology for uses in "strategic enterprise business markets and virtual worlds"
Paul Ledak, vice president, IBM Digital Convergence said brain computer interfaces, like the Epoc headset were an important component of the future 3D Internet and the future of virtual communication.