Almost a year after first announcing the Neural Impulse Actuator, OCZ Technology has revealed that the "mind-control" gaming device is very close to release. The company says the NIA has already hit mass production and a launch in the distribution channel is "imminent." For those who haven't yet heard of the new control system, OCZ explains its workings as such:
The commands are easily assigned with the NIA's user-friendly software and are calibrated based on the individual's physiology and personal preferences. Each of the Actuator's signals can be assigned to a specific keystroke on the keyboard or a mouse button; consequentially, gamers can run, jump, and fire faster all without "lifting a finger." Because the NIA converts EEG (electroencephalograph) signals into specified keystrokes, the device can be used with any software. Upon proper configuration, the NIA will allow users to control PC games without the use of a keyboard and minimal use of a mouse.
We've already had the opportunity to sample the NIA ourselves (on two separate occasions, as a matter of fact), and we were surprised to see first-hand just how much different it was from pretty much any other control system out there. The NIA requires users to become conscious of their facial movements and thoughts, and to harness them in order to control the game, something that's easier said than done. Although it takes some getting used to, the device has undeniable potential—and the way it's designed could make it faster than a traditional control scheme for experienced users.
The production device will feature a "sleek metal housing" and a "streamlined headband with carbon 'dry' interface sensors'," and users will be able to hook it up to their gaming rigs with a standard USB 2.0 connection. OCZ doesn't reveal a price for the NIA in its press release, but OCZ's VP of Technology Development, Dr. Michael Schuette, told us at CES in January that the device should launch in the $300-400 range.