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We’ll admit, we were dubious walking into the demo room. A videogame run by mind-control? That was the distant, Tron-like future of gaming we’d dreamed of as kids. It wasn’t going tp happen until the glorious age of incandescant neon cities and flying cars. We haven’t even got robot butlers yet, so there’s no way it could be happening. And using it to play Unreal Tournament 3? Ha!
But it does work. It really really does. We’ve used it, we’ve fragged with it, and it felt great. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Just how in the hell does this mystical tech do it anyway?
After repeated explanations from OCZ Technology’s very patient Dr Michael Schuette, our science-blitzed eyes finally became less glazed, and we came to understand it as this: Rather than operating in terms of thinking “Go left, go right, jump, fire”, the system uses different intensities of thought like the different gears of a car. It’s not what you’re thinking, it’s how hard you’re thinking. An easy five-minute calibration lets you map the keystrokes used by the game to any ‘gear’ of thought you want, and then you’re away. Just picture your mind as an analogue stick with different actions assigned the further you push it. The system can also measure horizontal eye movement on the same sliding scale, and both control inputs can be set up to run in conjunction with each other.
With a comprehensive set of customisation options, you can calibrate your brain to activate any combination of controls you like, and by playing around with things like keystroke repetition and delay times it’s actually possible to pre-program sets of actions like a keyboard macro, or one of those old ‘90s joypads with all the Street Fighter II moves programmed in.