DailyTech covered the progress made on OCZ's brain mouse design back in January, following OCZ's demonstration of the device at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Since then, two hungry competitors -- Neurosky and Emotiv -- have prepared to release their own brain-controlled mice to consumers, upping the ante for OCZ.
Not to be outdone, OCZ, feeling the heat, is at last bringing its Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA) to market. The device is essentially a brain controlled mouse, relying on Electroencephalogram (EEG) readings of the brain's alpha and beta waves. These readings, combined with muscle movement and glance (eye movement) readings, allow for a very effective interface.
Furthermore, OCZ has done extensive research into make the system high configurable, which it sees as the key to effective readings and control. Users can configure thresholds to activate certain actions, allow users to have much more delicate control than in their competitors. Also this helps to counter any variations in individual physiology that might come into play.
Like its competitors, OCZ's NIA utilizes a headband to capture its readings. One area where OCZ's design is intended to shine is in terms of computer performance. Depending on their complexity, brain mice can require significant processing resources. OCZ's design is optimized for a multi-core system and runs non-intrusively in a multi-threaded environment. The end result is there is less reduction in gaming performance, yielding a more satisfying gaming experience.
OCZ demoed the device being used to control a user character in Unreal Tournament 3, with no snags in frame rates.
Users adapting to the brain mouse will face a steep learning curve. However, once employed, the mouse brings up to a 60 percent reduction in the time needed to react, according to OCZ. This edge is granted based on long period of time needed to relay information from the eyes to the brain and then the ensuing reaction to the finger muscles. A brain-to-eye muscle reaction is significantly faster. This could be a boon to professional gamers, who can use it to enhance their performance without the use of drugs.
OCZ promises that average users will be able to begin to use the device within hours after some initial practice. Then the only thing left to do is hone their skills in the game world arenas. Some may even find the device useful in non-gaming desktop applications, despite its primary focus on gaming.
The device, which goes into production next week, should retail for $300 USD.