An Elden Ring streamer is playing through the game using nothing but her brain signals, which means we've officially entered the future.
In case you're re-reading that sentence trying to make sense of it, let me attempt to clarify what's going on in this incredible Twitch stream from PerriKaryal (opens in new tab). The streamer has an electroencephalogram (EEG) attached to her head that's measuring her brain activity, and she's managed to add keybindings to... you know what, why don't I just let PerriKaryal herself explain it:
"I'm using an EEG (brain imaging device) to monitor my brain activity live on screen," she said on Twitch. "It works by picking up electrical activity from my brain on the sensor pads on my head, made conductive with saline solution. I then trained it to recognise certain states and binded it to my attack key!"
She is playing Elden Ring... with her brain. Twitch streamer @perrikaryal has hooked up an EEG to her brain, where different brain activity is key bound to different abilities in gameI am frikin mindblown pic.twitter.com/lzquC2DdV4January 23, 2023
This actually isn't the first time psychologists have experimented with using EEG signals as controls in a gaming application (opens in new tab), but seeing it implemented in such a casual setting - not to mention with a game as notoriously difficult as Elden Ring - is uniquely fascinating. PerriKayal, who has a Master's degree in psychology, says the technology is actually pretty simple.
"It picks up the different electrical activity and patterns in my brain, and it can recognize the difference between what my brain looks like normally when I'm talking to you guys and when I'm visualizing attacking."
"I'm imagining pushing something forward like this," she explained while wearing a distinctly focused expression. Within seconds, her character moved forward and attacked an enemy.
"When I'm focusing on pushing something forward, that's a different kind of brain activity than me just talking to you all," she said. "It's really, really simple, and you can add more commands, but the more you add, the more complicated it gets and the more confused it gets."
Look, you can tell me this is simple all you want, but my mind will never not be blown watching someone fight tough-as-nails Elden Ring bosses like Margit the Fell and Godrick the Grafted - successfully I might add - by just thinking about 'pushing something heavy forward.' Especially when I struggle with the same enemies when I'm equipped with a fully functioning PS5 controller.
Don't remind me about the literal dog that's better than me at Elden Ring.