The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The First Mind-Controlled VR Game Will Hit Arcades in 2018

Neurable’s brain-scanning headband brings hands-free control to virtual reality entertainment

4 min read
Photo of person wearing VR headset.
Jacked In: Neurable’s new virtual reality headband uses a set of electrodes to measure the user’s EEG (electroencephalography) signals.
Photo: Neurable
Purple

“Wake up, this is not a test,” intones a voice as the virtual reality game Awakening begins. Your game character is a child trapped in a nefarious government lab, and as you scan the room you see a variety of objects lying on the floor, each flashing with light. You focus your mental attention on a block, and it rises up and rotates in the air before you. Then you focus on a mirror on the wall, and the block hurtles toward it and smashes the glass, revealing a scrawled sequence of numbers beneath. You notice a keypad by the door with numbers that are also subtly flashing. Using only your Jedi powers, you focus on certain digits in the correct sequence to open the door.

The technology that makes this game possible is a brain-scanning headband that attaches to a VR headset. That headband, paired with software that interprets the neural signals, enables wearers to play games without using any sort of hand controller. The creators of this brain-computer interface system, at the Boston-based startup Neurable, believe this intuitive controller will be the next big thing in VR. “We’ve essentially created a brain mouse,” says Ramses Alcaide, Neurable’s cofounder and CEO.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-sized humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

Keep Reading ↓Show less
Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could be an artificial brain? Perhaps a very long way still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Fourth Generation Digitizers With Easy-to-Use API

Learn about the latest generation high-performance data acquisition boards from Teledyne

1 min read

In this webinar, we explain the design principles and operation of our fourth-generation digitizers with a focus on the application programming interface (API).

Register now for this free webinar!

Keep Reading ↓Show less