Digital Arts Engineering student, Christian Lucas, spent the summer working in the Engineering, Simulation and Animation Lab (ESAL) at Cogswell and successfully connected the NeuroSky headset to the Torque 3D game engine. Christian is set to complete his studies and earn his Bachelor of Science degree this summer.
Lucas happened to join a group of students who were touring Cogswell College as Albert Chen, Director of Cogswell’s Game Program and Associate Director of ESAL, demonstrated the headset to them. This was a few days before he began working on the project and when he saw how intrigued the students were as they experimented with the headset he was even more excited to be involved in the work for NeuroSky.
“Alternative video game controls really grab people’s attention especially if it stems from a novel concept,” said Lucas. “The headset creates an interesting new experience and adds a surreal new complexity to software interactivity. The way it works by taking how you are thinking as input. It has the side effect of inducing you to learn to control your own thought patterns, namely how to focus and relax. Simply put, the wearer of the device learns to start using their mind as a virtual replacement to manually pressing buttons. Controls become as passive as thinking.”
Chen was originally approached by NeuroSky in the company’s university relations outreach. He told them about the work ESAL is doing and thought the brain control interface (BCI) technology would be an exciting avenue for our continuing research into serious application development using game engines.
“Cogswell College, and particularly the ESAL program, were a perfect fit for exploring the boundaries of new technology applications,” said Tansy Brook Head of Communications for NeuroSky. “Their focus on both the artistic and technical aspects of game development gave them a unique perspective. We look forward to seeing the direction that Albert Chen and his students take in the evolution of game development.”
NeuroSky is a worldwide leader in mass-market biosensor technology. Their ThinkGear technology allows the recording and processing of brainwaves that can power user-interface operations in games and medical devices. Industry partner Mattel used NeuroSky’s technology to create Mindflex and Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer. NeuroSky is based in San Jose.
Torque is the most licensed engine middleware in the games industry. The Torque community is now home to 150,000+ game developers and artists with additional licensees of more than 200 universities and schools for computer science and game design curricula.
For more information about ESAL, check out the new promotional video.
-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement