Mind-Controlled Pong is One Step Toward a World Cup KickoffS

Controlling games with brainwaves is a vogue research subject—Patricia Hernandez herself tested out a demo that involved tossing trucks telekinetically—but a team of researchers have applied it to a competitive game—Pong—with the goal of allowing a paralyzed person to make the ceremonial kickoff of the 2014 World Cup.

Duke University showed off its work to a summer camp meant to encourage high schoolers to pursue careers in engineering and technology. The game was developed by David Schwarz, a Duke Ph.D candidate. Their controller doesn't sound like much fun. It involves "headgear with spider-like arms, each containing a saline-soaked, felt-padded electrode."

Like Patricia's experience, calibrating the device took some doing and some physical gestures for effect, but after a few tries they could manipulate the paddle with their minds only. Schwarz's lab is working to make their technology capable of controlling an exoskeleton, allowing the paralyzed to recover independence. The goal of making a ceremonial kickoff at the World Cup is one aspect of that.

Students play video game with their minds at Duke [The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.]