Paralyzed Man Plays Raiden V and other games With His Mind as Controller

By Todd Russell Oct23,2023

What happens if we remove controllers from games? Think about that for a moment, this isn’t purely science fiction. In the future, we may not need joysticks, trackballs, mouse, keyboards or anything in our hands at all. Nathan Copeland, paralyzed from the waist down, did not, after taking part in a scientific experiment that tapped directly into his brain. Via this article: Brain-controlled gaming exists, though ethical questions loom over the tech

Since 2015, Copeland has lived with a transistor-like chip, known as a multi-electrode array, surgically implanted directly into his brain. Copeland’s chip records the rapid-firing of cellular neurons — an almost inscrutably complex neurological signal — which is ferried over to a computer for what’s referred to as “decoding.” This signal is subsequently “translated” into the desired, seemingly telekinetic actions of its user.

Few gamers will likely want to have anything surgically implanted into their brains, but what if you were paralyzed like Copeland? Would you undergo this surgery? Obvoiusly, for Mr. Copeland, it’s more about quality of life than gaming, but it’s fascinating that when he wasn’t working with the research time, he took some “recreation time” to use this tech to play several games:

According to Andrew Schwartz, a leading neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh, the technology is straightforward to use with video games. Movement direction, on-off, yes-no — the inputs Copeland uses to play two-dimensional games such as “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” — are all “strongly represented” in brain activity and thus “simple” to decode

Copeland even figured out to play one of his favorite MMORPG games, a much more complex game than Sonic or Raiden V (Steam) — that’s Final Fantasy XIV (Steam).

The whole idea of alternative controllers is fascinating to ponder, but this author isn’t getting anything implanted in my brain, unless I should need it for other quality of life decisions. Am glad to see this tech being explored to possibly help disabled people, but don’t think at least in my lifetime, mind controlling games with neuro implants will be a reality. But maybe it will be? What do you think?

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