Hot Hardware reviews OCZ’s NIA Brain-Input Controller (Verdict: They like it)

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Hot Hardware reviews the OCZ NIA “Brain-Computer Interface.” They seem impressed, but after a few weeks, they were still mostly incapable of getting the OCZ to register much besides facial tics, with only sporadic recognition of eye movement and brain states.

Here’s a description of what it’s like to play Unreal Tournament 3 with your forehead.

Since we received our review sample several weeks ago, we have attempted to spend about 30 minutes gaming with it each day in Unreal Tournament 3 for practice. On the first day, the only thing we were able to do was control the muscle sensor. However, this was enough to allow us to configure the NIA with basic commands and play a few rounds of UT3. Over the first week, we quickly became very proficient with muscle sensor control and gained a limited level of use of the glance sensor. However, Alpha and Beta control still alluded us.

Despite being limited to muscle and glance control, we were able to play UT3 quite proficiently by the end of the first week. Using the default UT3 profile which ships with the NIA, the NIA was used for movement and shooting while the mouse was used for steering. We were able to careen around the maps at a decent pace and we were generally able to get where we wanted in quick order. However, control accuracy was lacking, but that was largely due to a lack of control on our part.

If you think you’re going to psychically control your computer, think again: the OCZ only seems to offer the ability to map brain states like “relaxed” and “excited” to set computer commands. Hyperventilate to hit a hot key, in other words.

I think these products are great news for the handicapped, but I always feel like devices like OCZ’s are really marketed as snake oil to gamers. In reality, an OCZ NIA will probably make you significantly less precise in controlling your games… and even that slight imprecision implies several months spent training and a great deal of exhaustion

OCZ NIA Brain-Computer Interface [Hot Hardware]

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