Play games in the future without using a computer with a human brain

Recently, at the instigation of my friends, I started playing mobile games again, and found that fun games are available every year, but compared with ten years ago, the game now seems to have improved image quality, and the modes to the game equipment There is not much difference. This field urgently needs a change.

And maybe the protagonist of this revolution is the familiar G fat.

▲ Picture source: 1 News interview

Gabe Newell, the founder of Valve Games (commonly known as V), recently expressed his strong interest in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) in an interview with New Zealand media 1 News .

What can brain-computer interface technology bring to players?

He believes that this technology deserves continued attention from game developers. Therefore, the game giant is also making related development kits for game developers.

▲ Valve developers wear OpenBCI equipment for testing

As an industry benchmark, Valve has launched popular games such as "Half-Life", "Portal", and "Leave to Survive", as well as technology precipitation that disrupted the industry such as Origin Engine and Steam game platform.

So when G Fat said he was interested in brain-computer interface technology, he was serious.

This reminds me of the VR game Half Life-Aylx launched by V agency in 2020.

There is a saying among players that every generation of the half-life series will use some new things.

The first generation has movie narratives, the second generation has the origin engine, and Alex has VR. Maybe the three generations of sequels that players are waiting for will be the first attempt of V agency in brain-computer interface technology. It may even be related to VR technology. The combination brings about a game change and makes the scene in the "top player" come true.

G Fatty revealed to reporters that, in fact, V agency, including himself, has been researching brain-computer interface technology for several years, and they are jointly developing an open source BCI software project with OpenBCI, and other game developers can also use this A device that looks like a magically modified VR helmet reads the brainwave signals of the player and applies it to the game.

▲ OpenBCI Headset-Galea

According to the current information, G Fat wants to use brain-computer interface technology to read the brain waves of the player, so that it can control the actions of characters or objects without using hands or feet, and can control the actions of characters or objects by just thinking about it, so as to get rid of external external handles Control equipment, combined with existing VR technology, allows players to enjoy a more immersive gaming experience.

▲ Valve Index VR Headset

Of course, brain-computer interface technology can not only read brain waves and realize your dream of playing games while lying down; there is still more room for imagination in the future. You can simply compare this to a USB interface, but this time it is a zero-distance link between the human brain and the machine.

For example, the Swiss MindMaze company once combined VR and BCI technology to read the wearer's facial muscles and nerve electrical signals, making the facial expressions of the VR virtual characters more vivid and rich in details.

The emergence of new technologies will always be accompanied by some discordant sounds

The birth of brain-computer interface technology has left plenty of room for imagination. The vision is longing for, but at the same time it exudes a hint of chill.

Many film and television works have warned people to think twice before opening this "Pandora's Box."

The movie "Source Code" takes 90 minutes to tell the story of the military reading the brainwave memories of passengers on a bomb-struck train through the brain-computer interface, and recreating the scene at that time and finally finding the real murderer.

▲ Source code (2011) stills

After a policeman in Detroit was murdered by his enemies, his torso was completely lost, and only his brain and heart and lungs were left to work. The high-tech company Omni used brain-computer interfaces and mechanical skeletons to rescue the policeman from the brink of death, making him a man Named "Robocop".

▲ Stills of Robocop (2014)

The "Black Mirror" once hailed as a masterpiece has also discussed brain-computer interface technology.

In the third episode of the first season, humans in the future have realized the retrieval of memories through brain-computer interfaces and can be viewed at any time.

Once the memory has a physical image like a surveillance video, all the secrets can't be hidden, and the hero and the heroine in the play will also have a dispute and cause a tragedy.

In "The Matrix" released in 1999, some people chose to face the cruel reality, while others chose to connect their brains and admire the beautiful scenery, even if they offered consciousness with their hands.

▲ Stills from The Matrix (1999)

In a sense, this scenario has already happened in reality.

The directors and screenwriters, borrowing the shell of the movie, imagine the convenience brought by the seamless connection between humans and machines, and also exposed the fear of subsequent problems that may occur. This fear stems from humans’ innate rejection of unknown things. .

However, these films do not pay much attention to brain-computer interface technology, and they are mostly introductions, or intentionally or unintentionally make this technology appear less aggressive.

The application scenarios of the brain-computer interface technology in the game "Cyberpunk 2077" are even more abundant. Some of them are wild, and when viewed from another angle, they are more like creating superpowers.

Back to reality, brain-computer interface technology is still in its infancy, and it is being used more in the medical field, such as the use of brain-computer interfaces to control bionic prostheses, and even allow paralyzed people to restore their physical ability.

Human research on neuroscience is still just starting

Ian Burkhart, who loves sports, went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with a friend during his freshman summer vacation. He accidentally occurred during a wrong beach diving attempt, causing quadriplegia and loss of consciousness from the neck.

He participated in rehabilitation but had little success, so in 2014 he chose to join the cooperative program of Ohio State University and the Battelle Memorial Institute to implant a brain-computer interface in the brain and stimulate the somatosensory nerve fibers to restore his right hand. Partial tactile and athletic ability.

Even before every use, Burkhart has to connect to the computer and tie a bunch of cables to his arm. This scene is not as perfect as in the science fiction film, but he has restored the movement function of his right hand and can pick it up. Cups, toothbrushes, cola and other items.

The same technology can also be used in patients with strokes, gradual freezing, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, so that they can regain the ability to speak and type. However, this kind of technology is still a long way from mature mass production, and its high cost is not affordable for ordinary families.

In this huge field of brain science research, there is also a familiar face, the infatuated Elon Musk.

In addition to building rockets and electric cars, he also wants to study the human brain . In the past 2020, he showed the world the latest brain-computer interaction product of Neuralink, a brain-computer interface company he founded, LINK V0.9.

Before use, a specially designed surgical robot is needed to implant a coin-sized chip into the brain. The function is not yet clear. Currently, it is mainly used to monitor human health, and other uses are just imaginary.

In addition, three experimental pigs were demonstrated at the press conference.

Perhaps it is to alleviate the audience's fear of new things like invasive brain-computer interfaces, or perhaps it has not yet entered the stage of human experimentation.

Regardless of the reason, it is like most people's views on brain-computer interface technology: they want to experience it as soon as possible; and they are afraid of the various risks that may be caused by it.

One of these risks has already appeared in reality.

Headband product launched by BrainCo brain-computer interface company. It is a "learning aid" that collects the wearer's (such as students) brain waves, analyzes the attention-related signals, tracks the changes in attention in real time, and generates reports for students, parents, and teachers to refer to.

Previously, BrainCo products appeared in a school due to donations from alumni for students to wear and use in the classroom. Parents are delighted to see that it can help their children improve their grades, but students feel anxious because they feel being monitored.

After all, it used to be compared with the scores on the exam papers, and now it has an attention index, a little distracted, parents can see from the report.

The above cases are just the tip of the iceberg in the field of brain science research.

Although human research on the brain has been involved centuries ago, we still know very little about this soft and extremely fragile brain.

We don't even know whether the human brain alone is sufficient to understand the human brain.

The research on brain-computer interfaces has only begun in the past 30 years. It seems too early to talk about the dark side of brain-computer interfaces, but I hope everyone will have a certain degree of awareness and awe in this field.

If in the near future, humans really only need to use their brains to play games, can we still distinguish between virtual and reality?

Fortunately, it seems that this issue is still far away from us.

Source of the picture: the number one player

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