OCZ's "Brain Mouse" Officially Launched

For as long as I can remember, OCZ has been showing off its "brain mouse", now much more professionally titled the Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA). The NIA can measure brain waves and respond to triggers from muscles in your face, translating them into mouse movements and button presses. The end result is a device that lets you play first person shooters with minimal use of your hands.

The NIA demoed at CeBIT is as close to final as it's going to get and we had a try at it.

First off, the air in Hall 21 is particularly dry so you need to lotion up a bit:


Manny lotions up his forehead

Next, you simply place the NIA around your head and tighten the lanyard:


Manny dons the NIA

OCZ rep Dr. Michael Schutte just threw us into a game of Unreal Tournament 3 without any additional training or configuration, he just told us to play and within seconds we were at least moving around and shooting.


Manny is arguably just as good at UT3 with the NIA as he is without it

Initially it's tough to get a hang of exactly what you need to do to control your character. You still use a mouse to look around, but all movement including shooting and jumping is controlled using your head. I found that blinking tended to make me move forward, while raising my eyebrows would make me jump and shoot.

Watching Dr. Schutte use the NIA was a far more seamless experience:

The more novice you are the more you have to use exaggerated facial expressions to get the NIA to react, but Dr. Schutte manages to play UT3 with a stoic look on his face. We only spent a few minutes with the NIA but it performed far better than expected.


Dr. Schutte frags with his mind


This is how Manny fires

OCZ lists the MSRP as $199 and the NIA does admittedly work far better than expected, although it may be a tough sell for those who are too used to a keyboard and mouse.

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