Web Search nikon coolpix digital cameras The Miserable Annals of the Earth: Livin' in the future now (part, something)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Livin' in the future now (part, something)

I love livin' in the future now. I grant you, I got no jetpak or rocket car, and that's deeply depressing. But shit like this always gives me a little thrill:

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A convincing twin of Darth Vader stalks the beige cubicles of a Silicon Valley office, complete with ominous black mask, cape and light saber. But this is no chintzy Halloween costume. It's a prototype, years in the making, of a toy that incorporates brain wave-reading technology.

Behind the mask is a sensor that touches the user's forehead and reads the brain's electrical signals, then sends them to a wireless receiver inside the saber, which lights up when the user is concentrating. The player maintains focus by channeling thoughts on any fixed mental image, or thinking specifically about keeping the light sword on. When the mind wanders, the wand goes dark.

Engineers at NeuroSky Inc. have big plans for brain wave-reading toys and video games. They say the simple Darth Vader game — a relatively crude biofeedback device cloaked in gimmicky garb — portends the coming of more sophisticated devices that could revolutionize the way people play.

Technology from NeuroSky and other startups could make video games more mentally stimulating and realistic. It could even enable players to control video game characters or avatars in virtual worlds with nothing but their thoughts.

Adding biofeedback to "Tiger Woods PGA Tour," for instance, could mean that only those players who muster Zen-like concentration could nail a put. In the popular action game "Grand Theft Auto," players who become nervous or frightened would have worse aim than those who remain relaxed and focused.

I've said it before, I'll say it again -- the magic bullet and Holy Grail waiting at the end of this rainbow for all gamers, and all game designers, is total immersion virtual reality, where we can literally be anything we want to be -- wizard, barbarian-warrior, superhero, Jedi knight, or anything else we (or someone more imaginative we are willing to pay to do it for us) can conceive of.

And when we get it, the human race is over. Who's going to want to take their VR helmet off long enough to conceive, gestate, and birth a kid, when they can live their perfect fantasy life with no fuss, no muss instead?

Alien archeologists landing on Earth a thousand years after the invention and mass marketing of full immersion VR will be baffled at what they find -- millions of dessicated skeletons with shiny plastic helmets affixed to their skulls.

Here in this moment, though, just prior to the blissful death of all humanity (or, at least, all humanity that can afford to buy a $20 helmet and pony up another $20 for the first 30 days of online access to the fantasy life of their choosing, which is all it will take to put most of us in our graves with great big smiles on our dehydrated, starvation-wasted faces), I admit I find myself most amused by the following passage:

Le, a 29-year-old Australian woman, said the company decided in 2004 to target gamers because they would generate the most revenue — but eventually Emotive will build equipment for clinical use. The technology could enable paralyzed people to "move" in virtual realty; people with obsessive-compulsive disorders could measure their anxiety levels, then adjust medication accordingly.

And here people have been telling me and my fellow gamers for years that we're just wasting our lives in front of that gaming console. Ha ha! Turns out, we're the funding base for an entirely new medical technology! Nyaaaah!


At 4:15 PM , Blogger AaA said...


Long have I waited for this day.


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