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Thought-control headset to ship late 2008

LONDON — Emotiv Systems Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.) a 2003 startup developing brain-computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology, has said the Emotiv Epoc headset, which allows players to control gameplay with their thoughts, expressions and emotions, will go on sale later in 2008.

The company showed a prototype of the headset at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco in February 2007 and has now said the Epoc would be made available to consumers in late 2008 for a recommended retail price of $299. Consumers can sign up to purchase one of the first headsets at www.emotiv.com.

The headset contains sensors that detect electrical signals in the brain of the wearer as a non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG). Human thoughts, expressions and emotions can therefore be used control and influence an application.

“Being able to control a computer with your mind is the ultimate quest of human-machine interaction,” said Nam Do, chief executive officer of Emotiv Systems, in a statement. “When integrated into games, virtual worlds and other simulated environments, this technology will have a profound impact on the user's experience. Since announcing our prototype last year, we've made dramatic technological breakthroughs in order to create the first wearable, affordable brain-controlled gaming headset. We're excited to see our vision realized this year and look forward to enabling gamers out there to experience brain-controlled gaming for themselves.”

The Emotiv Epoc detects more than 30 expressions, emotions and actions including: emotional detections such as immersion, excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, crossed eyes, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed), horizontal eye movement, smirk and grimace (clenched teeth); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axes). The headset has been used to make objects disappear in gaming situations that support this.

In addition to these detections, the Emotiv Epoc incorporates a gyroscope, which enables the camera or cursor to be controlled by head motions.

The Emotiv Epoc is scheduled to ship with a game developed specifically by Emotiv to enable players to explore all the possibilities of brain-controlled gaming.

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