MindMaze, a spin-off company from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), has today announced that it has recently closed a funding round valuing $8.5mn (approx. £5.6mn) for its ‘thought-powered VR game system’ – MindLeap.
The virtual and augmented reality headset combines electroencephalogram technology (EEG) and integrated 3D capture cameras mounted on the head to track hand movements for basic command input, as well as to scan and predict the user’s brain activity. According to the Swiss firm the technology is able to “unleash the power of players’ minds to enhance gameplay and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality.”
MindMaze hopes to use its ‘medical-grade technology’ to create an intuitive human-computer interface. The development team is supervised by Olaf Blanke, neurologist and MindMaze scientific advisor, who has led research projects in cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience and virtual reality at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
According to Blanke, the sensor technology behind MindLeap enables “a whole new era of neurorehabilitation and gamification by tapping into key neural signatures for unparalleled responsiveness.”
The company has said that the VR/AR headset will be available to developers later this year, along with the MindLeap SDK, allowing them to integrate the device directly into games and applications and to get the most out of the new sensor technology.
“MindMaze puts your brain into the game,” said MindMaze founder and CEO Dr. Tej Tadi. “Never before have neuroscience, virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D full-body motion-capture come together in a games system. Gamers will be able to see, feel and experience virtual gameplay with absolutely no delay or need for controllers,”
Dr. Tadi explained that sense of touch takes 20 milliseconds to relay to the brain, and vision takes 70 milliseconds, and commented that “Knowing these set timings enables this experience perfectly.”
Tadi continued to suggest that the next goal is to make the technology available over “open source, cross-platform and wireless.”