Back in January we brought you news of a new device showcased by OCZ over at the Computer Electronics Show. Codenamed the Neural Impulse Actuator (or nia for short), OCZ captivated audiences by seemingly being able to use brain power to control the motion of a character in the the popular FPS Unreal Tournament.
Obviously the biggest question that has been on everyone's minds (excuse the pun) is how does it work? While it has to be said that a lot of the information fed to us by Dr. Michael Schuette (Neurobioligist & OCZ VP of Technology) went well over our heads (here we go again - Ed), we managed to extract from the conversation that the nia works by reading bioptentials. These include activities of the brain, the autonomous nervous system and muscles - all of which are captured using embrace sensors located on the nia's headband, amplified and sent to the PC via USB2.0.
The biopotentials are broken into frequency specific components that allow a reasonably fine granularity of control for the novice user, after a short period of adaptation, the controls become essentially a streaming of body signals into the computer that don't really require any further "thinking" but become sort of second nature.