After three years of exceptional research in BCI control of computer gaming, the OpenVibe2 initiative has come to an end. This open-source initiative aimed to explore the possibilities of integrating EEG-based BCI technology into the video gaming world, both for entertainment and clinical purposes.
The project, funded by the French Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR), has realized this goal with a great deal of success thanks to the work of premier BCI research institutes (INRIA, INSERM, CEA, and GIPSA-lab) and video game developers ( Ubisoft, Blacksheep Studio, Kylotonn Games). Together they have released 3 exciting proof of concept games, as well as 3 commercial ‘brain training’ games.
In contributing to the OpenVibe2 game initiative, Ubisoft spearheaded a separate line of research in which they sought to characterize the ideal headset for a ‘neurogaming’ experience. However their findings were not included in the recent press release. The proof of concept games give a brainy spin to classic 2D arcade-style entertainment.
The first of these, MindShooter, is a space-ship shooter based on the concept of visuo-spatial attention – the idea that focusing ones attention on different parts of a visual scene can be detected at the level of brainwaves. To play this game, the user has to navigate a spaceship by focusing on the left or right-hand side of the ship , and fire on ‘enemy’ ships by focusing on them.
The second game, Brain Invaders, is a BCI based version of the classic Japanese game Space Invaders. This game is based on a reliable brain response that is produced when something ‘out of the ordinary’ occurs. For instance, picking out a specific type of alien from an array of aliens.
The third game, Brain Arena, allows users to compete against each other in a football game (the non-american kind) using only the brainwaves associated with shifting attention.
The commercial games include a gaming environment targeted to treat ADHD (read the Neurogadget article here), as well as Cocoto Brain and BCI Training Center.
Cocoto Brain is a game for the Nintendo Wii in which the user must focus on ‘enemies’ to prevent them from destroying a fairy whom they have been tasked to protect.
BCI Training Center is a much more straight forward attention training environment, in which users can perform a variety of working memory tasks and track their progress using neural benchmarks of ‘relaxion’ and ‘focus.’