Jul 11, 2008, 12:59PM

Mind Control Video Game Prototype Built

Students at Drexel University have prepared the cleverly named video game "Lazybrains," where the character is controlled by infared readings of frontal lobe oxidizations. Basically you can make the little guy do things by thinking. We're not sure whether to get exited or really freaked out.

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In the age of highly interactive games such as the Wii, a group of six Drexel students have develeoped Lazybrains, a video game which requires no movement and only one's brain for the controller.

Lazybrains is a brain-computer interface that uses the brain's concentration levels to control the character. "We're trying to push past the concept of generic controllers to controllers more intuitive … and make a brain device where we don't have to use any hands," Kenneth Oum, a senior BS/MS student in digital media and one of the team's artists, said.The group of five digital media students confronted Hasan Ayaz, a biomedical engineering graduate student researching on the functional near-infrared imaging device, for their senior project.

He helped them interface the device with the gaming engine. The fNIR device is a headband placed on the forehead that projects infrared light to the frontal lobe on the brain and reads oxygenation levels, which are used in the game as the controller, according to team members. When the mind concentrates, the blood gives off oxygen which is sensed by the device.

Lazybrains won't be marketed in the near future because the brian-computer interface is still a new area and further research is needed to find the optimal method of providing gameplay for the devices, according to Paul Diefenbach, professor in digital media and computer science and the faculty advisor for Lazybrains.


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