NYT on Neurable’s Brain-Controlled Virtual Reality Game: It Works

When Neurable first popped up on Xconomy’s radar in late 2015, it was a small, mostly student-led University of Michigan spinout working on cutting-edge brain-computer interface innovations that would allow people to control software using only their thoughts. Back then, it sounded exciting yet fairly far out. However, a lot has changed since.

Today, Neurable is a venture-backed, 13-person company based in Cambridge, MA, that continues to make waves as it refines its neurotechnology—a suddenly hot sector, according to the New York Times—and delves deeper into the world of mixed reality gaming. This week, the newspaper profiled Neurable after one of its reporters met up with the company at a recent computer graphics conference in San Francisco called Siggraph.

Here’s the NYT on playing Awakening, a virtual reality game created by Neurable: “When you pull the headset over your eyes and the game begins, you are transported to a tiny room with white walls. Your task is to break out of the room, but you cannot use your hands. There is no joystick or game pad. You must use your thoughts.

“You turn toward a ball on the floor, and your brain sends a command to pick it up,” according to the report. “With another thought, you send the ball crashing into a mirror, breaking the glass and revealing a few numbers scribbled on a wall. You mentally type those numbers into a large keypad by the door. And you are out.”

The Gray Lady went on to report that Neurable’s headset is part of a recent boom in neurotechnology products, and it outlines some of those efforts. However, in this reporter’s opinion, the NYT seemed most impressed by Neurable’s offering.

Last month, the company released a beta software developer kit built for the Unity interface for those interested in creating their own mind-controlled “virtual reality experiences.” A wider release of the kits is expected in 2018; those interested in obtaining one can apply here.

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