Earlier this year, Twitch streamer and psychology researcher Perrikaryal used her electroencephalogram (EEG) device (which records the brain’s electrical activity, but also has telekinetic research history) to beat Elden Ring, “using [her] mind for everything but movement.” Now she’s taking things even further, gunning down opponents in Halo multiplayer without touching a controller at all.
Though Perri’s whole set up—the black nodes strapped to her skull that evaluate her brain activity and let her shoot, the way she nods her head to move, and uses her eyes, through an eye-tracker, to aim—might seem to you like a swathe of inconceivable, Gattaca (1997) nonsense, it’s really the child of all-natural trial-and-error.
“There are still always comments about how this must be fake, but that just serves to show me how exciting and innovative this actually is,” Perri told me over email. But “there is still so much to improve and add. I still don’t have a full controller working—only four working [data] visualizations, which means four working button keybinds. I can only really, in practice, have two-to-three of those running at any one time; otherwise the EEG gets confused.”
It’s all in the name of her ultimate goal, “to make the hands-free controller all-encompassing (all buttons and triggers accessible) and easier than a regular controller [...] so that anyone can use it for a comparable gaming experience,” she tells me. In pursuit of this, she’s making things more complicated by streaming Minecraft, or, as she affectionately calls it, “MINDcraft,” on September 12.
“A game like Minecraft is going to be an insane challenge because of all the menus that are required to navigate,” she said. It’s a good thing, then, that Perri has big brain ambitions. In addition to calibrating her existing inputs like eye and head movements, she’s also working with a “few labs and research groups [...] experimenting with biosignals,” like blood pressure and heart rate, “and EEG in order to integrate all of this into VR and a more immersive gaming experience.”
“Playing Elden Ring [...] served as a great practice ground for trialing out different visualizations and figuring out what worked for me,” Perri said. “I’m not afraid of scrapping a visualization I spent hundreds of hours training for [...] because I know now that that’s just a part of the process, and an important part of getting stronger as a mind-control gamer.”