FDG 2009 Day Four – Computers That Read Your Mind

Today is the last day of the Foundations of Digital Games conference. Some of us are struggling today. Too much food. Too many late nights discussing things with smart interesting people. OK and yes for some people too many late nights having those discussions over drinks. But there are still lots of great talks during the day. As I start this post I am listening to a report on studies of massively multi-player online games. Apparently a lot of the forum discussions for these games are problem solving discussions.

BTW most of the people I have heard who are doing serious study of online game cultures are women. Somehow these are not the games I expect women to be involved with. Also apparently my pre-conceived notions are wrong. In any case students are spending a lot more time playing games than doing school work. They also spend a lot of other, non-game, time on the Internet. For many kids games are replacing reading. But really they are just doing a different kind of reading from what we are used to.

The most impressive thing I saw all week was a device from Emotiv Systems. This is a headset that reads the electrical signals from the brain and lets a user control systems directly from those signals. The company is promoting this as a new device for playing games. I’m not so sure about that but it does seem to have some interesting possibilities in a number of areas. The keynote presentation and demo as well as a shorter interview with the president and co-founder of the company should be available online soon. The device itself will be for sale sometime in the fall with a target price of around $300. It will be interesting to see what develops from it.

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