NeuralDrift is a collaborative multiplayer neurogame based on brain-computer interfaces. Inspired by the movie Pacific Rim, in which collaborative mind control technology allows the use of futuristic giant robots, the game lets two players – Jaeger pilots – control a robot by syncing their brain waves. The project was completed under 36 hours during WearHacks 2014, the first wearable hackathon to be held in North America. Today’s neurotechnology, such as portable neuroimaging devices, can tell us how our own brain reacts and behaves in everyday situations. These novel devices, though, are the source of many unrealistic expectations and, at the same time, of unfounded concerns. NeuralDrift is an attempt to bridge that gap, by offering a fun and interactive way for people to discover what they can and cannot do with neurotechnology, through a tangible and engaging neurocomputing experience.
Ana Tavera Mendoza
Hubert Jacob Banville
In the game, mental activity is measured through a portable electroencephalogram (EEG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroencephalography)) device. This kind of device non-invasively measures the electrical activity of the brain, which can be analyzed in real-time by a computer. The pilots thus have to focus on very specific mental tasks to elicit recognizable patterns in their EEG signals. These patterns are then mapped to specific commands, transmitted to a small robot. When both pilots maintain a similar level of mental activity, the robot moves forward; if their level is unbalanced, the robot turns left or right. Our design allowed the use of almost any consumer EEG device, through a unified interface available here (https://github.com/rcassani). This way, raw EEG data could be readily sent to a MATLAB script, where signal processing, spectral feature extraction and classification are performed in real-time. Identification of the pilots’ mental state is finally transmitted to a LEGO Mindstorms robot, as well as displayed on a tablet, allowing the two pilots to test their self-control and, most importantly, their drift-compatibility.
The question now is, “are you drift-compatible”?