OCZ neural impulse headband hits mass production

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.

Comments closed
    • tomkaten
    • 12 years ago

    I can see the neighbours giving me the strange looks when they see me downstairs because I forgot to pull the drapes during a Quake session. Can’t blame them really… You wouldn’t want to be seen using this… Looney bin material. Watch out for the people in white costumes ! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • aleckermit
    • 12 years ago

    LOL, you look like you’re being interagated by government agents in the last picture.

    “Hook him up Bryant, we need all he knows”


    • Homerr
    • 12 years ago

    Oh… I thought it was April 1st for a moment.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    I don’t think this thing will take off. I tested it at GDC this year and I could not get it to work and from what I saw, neither did the 4 other people at the booth. I tried something the same around 15 years ago when I was a game tester. However the device I used was attached to your finger but the results where the same.

    It did not work.

    • Heiwashin
    • 12 years ago

    I’ll still be getting one the day of it’s release, or as soon as it’s available to buy.

    • lycium
    • 12 years ago

    argh, i really want one but $400 is too expensive ๐Ÿ™

    • mattthemuppet
    • 12 years ago

    I wonder if you can map more complicated gestures to this – like mapping blowing a raspberry to firing a rocket launcher or flipping the finger to throwing a grenade etc ? That’d really make things fun, though anyone not in the know would think you were some kind of spastic monkey.

    • Captain Ned
    • 12 years ago

    Hmm, make the process two-way and we can all recreate /[

    • albundy
    • 12 years ago

    if the impulses are controlling the game, isn’t the fun factor diminishing? its like sort of watching an interactive movie, which begs the question, are you really gaming? reason being, every gamer so far relates the gamepad/mouse/joystick to specific movements in their fingers, to the point where it is habitual. it would be interesting to see if those fingers still replicate movement with no input device with this headband.

    • Spyrano
    • 12 years ago

    It’s cool, but I’m less excited about this than I am of all the applications for NeuroSky’s products ยง[<http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/12/mind_games<]ยง

    • Moe_Szyslak
    • 12 years ago

    No way is this thing ever getting near my home. I don’t want to look like a tool. Not even when I’m alone ๐Ÿ˜›

    • ew
    • 12 years ago

    $300-$400 WTF!

      • Sargent Duck
      • 12 years ago

      yeah, the price is a little high for a “neat-o” gadget. I personally wouldn’t mind having one to play with, but being a student, I don’t exactly have a lot of free cash, certainly not $300-400 worth.

      • alex666
      • 12 years ago

      That’s chump change if it might work for the disabled, especially say quadriplegics, i.e., people with spinal cord injuries like Christopher Reeves. This could have some very interesting applications. This bears watching.

        • Dposcorp
        • 12 years ago

        My nephew has the same type of injury that Reeves had, way before him.
        I am getting this for him first thing when available for purchsse.

      • ludi
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah, I had the same basic reaction and told OCZ as much. IMO it needs to hit the market at $149 tops for it to sell to anyone other than a few thousand hardcore FPS gamers (twitch reflex works even faster if your brain twitches straight to software without that inconvenient hand/HID thing getting in the way).

      The lethargic history of pricey VR glasses is a big nail in this product’s coffin unless OCZ can get the price down. At $149, you might have a sale. At $300-400, you have a choice between a new high-end video card, a new 24″ LCD monitor, or a well-equipped Xbox360.

    • ReAp3r-G
    • 12 years ago

    this sounds promising XD

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