Is there a way to make gaming even more engaging and exciting than it already is now? – Yes, the solution is called neurogaming.
Neurogaming enlarges the gameplay into a very serious business environment that combines cutting-edge technologies and knowledge in neuroscience with the gaming industry, leading to world changing inventions for entertainment as well as for education and healthcare.
What is neurogaming really?
A great variety of inputs, such as the player’s changes in emotional state, cognitive load, heart rate, pupil dilation, brain waves and gestures, are combined in order to enrich the game. Latest development of sophisticated sensory, emotional, cognitive and behavioral technologies make it possible to directly include the player’s nervous system into the gaming experience for purposes of entertainment, education, health, wellness and more. A completely new gaming experience is enhanced by output technologies like haptic sensation systems, and augmented & virtual realities. Since neurogame designers can get a better understanding of the game experience with these technologies combined with a game platform like Unity, they can somewhat control the experience and create certain features in a game that push the boundaries of reality as never seen before.
Where is neurogaming heading?
Only a few years from now, neurogaming is predicted to be at a whole other level. Even more physiological factors will enable game developers to design games that can directly improve, health, brainpower and skills of the players. At the moment there are only a few neurogames on the market and their included actions are still limited. Yet, with the ongoing improvement of software and technology, games will become more challenging and multipurpose. One way of doing so is to integrate concepts that can adjust actions according to the changes of a player’s emotional state, which can be measured through EEG, eye tracking, facial expression analysis or skin-conductance levels. Game designers even consider an approach that influences feeling and thinking of the player during the game.
Not only for entertainment – but so much more!
Even though all of the above-mentioned sounds like a lot of fun, entertainment is not the only purpose of neurogaming. A lot of focus is put to health care and the well being of the society. Just recently a game that helps people in the process of learning to focus, relax and meditate has been launched. Medical researchers are even hoping to find solutions that can assist patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As another example, the Veterans Association in Boston works on rehabilitation of soldiers who suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Substance abuse or similar problems. They use magnetic stimulation to help them. Recent studies have shown that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which directs a mild electrical current to the player’s brain, improves their ability to concentrate, learn and be creative. The Air Force confirms that tDCS headsets can significantly reduce the amount of training time for pilots while using video simulators. Even the US army uses them to improve sniper performance, training in virtual environments.
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Neurogaming conference founder, Zack Lynch, summarized neurogaming to those of us in attendance as the interface, “where the mind and body meet to play games.”