This EEG-Controlled Pong Game Puts Idle Minds to Good Use

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[Photo: Chuck Moyes and Mengxiang Jiang]
Two Cornell University students, inspired by one of the pair's experience of Obstructive Sleep Apnea disorder and his struggle to get access to his sleep lab data, decided to take matters into their own hands, so they built an EEG machine for their microcontroller lab final project.

Then, being geeks, they decided to use it to play Pong. Because really, who doesn't want to play games with the power of their mind?

In one of their original plans, the pair set out to detect the color a user was thinking of from a set, after training, based on reading the user's brainwaves. Although they were unable to achieve better than 64% accuracy on the color classification tests, they were able to achieve sufficient accuracy at distinguishing different magnitudes of mu brain wave suppression (characteristic of users thinking about moving, but not moving, their legs) and different magnitudes of alpha brain wave rhythms (characteristic of users' level of relaxation) that users could reliably control the Pong paddle after a bit of practice using either method.

Enough with the technical details: Here's video of the brainwave-controlled Pong in action:

The device, which uses an old baseball cap as an EEG helmet and an ATmega644 microcontroller to convert the raw, amplified analog signal from the cap into a digital signal which is then passed to a computer over a USB serial connection, cost the students less than $75 to build. They've also posted the source on Github.

[Chuck Moyes and Mengxiang Jiang via Engadget]

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