NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology at the forefront of a new generation of computer and video game environments that trains valuable mental skills, beyond eye-hand coordination, for the personal improvement, not just the diversion, of the user.
Monitoring and enhancement of operator state is an objective of the current LaRC Intelligent Integrated Flight Deck Technology (IIFDT) program. Prior research by the inventor, Alan Pope, modulates (based on player physiological signals) the manual inputs that a player makes to the buttons or joysticks of a video game hand controller. However, a new type of controller allows a player to make inputs to a video game by moving the entire controller itself, allowing for the present invention’s entirely new approach to integrating psychophysiological signals into game play.
The technology is constructed to allow modulation of player inputs to a video game or simulation from a user interface device based on the player’s psychophysiological state. The invention exploits current wireless motion-sensing technologies to utilize physiological signals for input modulation. These include, but are not limited to, heart rate, muscle tension, and brain wave activity. The current invention interacts wirelessly through the use of LED infrared signal, which reduces device power consumption.
The current capability has been successfully prototyped using the Nintendo Wii console and wireless Wii remote. The experience of electronic game play may also be enhanced by introducing a multiplayer component in which various players collaboratively pursue the goals of the game. The device can also enhance multiplayer experiences such as a video game tournament, in which the skill set required in competitive game play is increased by allowing players to interact with the game, and compete with one another, on a psychophysiological level. This system is compatible with the Nintendo Wii, and prototypes have been designed and are being developed to extend this capability to the PlayStation Move, Xbox Kinect, and other similar game platforms.
Potential applications include consumer brain-computer interface devices, biofeedback equipment, third-generation video game systems, physical therapy, third-party video game peripherals, athletic training, and mind-body medicine.