I’ve explored mindreading to enhance a game before and I like to stay up to date on what’s going on. This year we should be seeing more and more games using consumer EEG machines or other wearable technology that allows us to get a glimpse of what’s happening in people’s minds.
The Muse headband continues to be the best looking device, but on the experimental side there are some nifty new products.
This mindreading helmet records your stress level while you’re engaged in helmet-wearining activity like riding a bike. On it’s own, it’s not that novel since one can do the same measurements with existing head sensors. The useful part of MindRider is that it can be used to collect data on mass while not be an inconvenience to wear since you’re already wearing a helmet. FastCompany adds this informative bit of knowledge into the mix:
Cyclists use the feedback in different ways. “Most of our avid commuters are most interested in the mindfulness or relaxation aspect of MindRider,” says Ducao. “New cyclists are most interested how the high focus aspect–the red part of the spectrum–can help them know where to be more cautious.”
But the data may be most useful as it’s aggregated. Anyone with the helmet can opt to share it anonymously online, so everyone’s experience can be merged in an up-to-the-minute map showing exactly how a particular route will make you feel.
Sadly, their recent (and ambitious!) Kickstarter failed.
Don’t give up hope though!
While not a mindreader like the tools above, this experimental controller can sense emotions.
McCall added a 3-D printed plastic module packed with sensors to an Xbox 360 controller. Small metal pads on the controller’s surface measure the user’s heart rate, blood flow, the rate of breath, and how deeply the user is breathing. A light-operated sensor gives a second heart rate measurement, and accelerometers measure how frantically the person is shaking the controller.
Meanwhile, custom-built software gauges the intensity of the game, in this case, a simple but fast-paced racing game in which the player must drive over colored tiles in a particular sequence.
McCall can then compare all this data to generate an overall picture of the player’s level of mental engagement, which can be used to alter the pace of gameplay to better suit the player.
Obviously, these new tools can be used for play testing but it’ll be far more interesting to see how people can take these tools to create new meaningful gaming experiences.
When we combine the tools above with mind trickery we can really create some bizarre stuff!