Two months have passed since Overclock3D brought you news that OCZ's greatly anticipated Neural Impulse Actuator (nia) was ready for shipping
. Our forums along, with many others, became rife with excitement at the prospect of this groundbreaking device actually being available for purchase from retailers. Did we speak too soon? Well yes, maybe, but as the saying goes, "a watched kettle never boils" and with so many people putting pressure on OCZ to deliver, the inevitable happened, and the release date slipped back...and back...and back.
However, just when members of our forum
seemed to be giving up hope and comparing the nia to OCZ's Cryo-Z cooler *cough cough*, OCZ have pulled a rabbit out of their hat and caught us totally off guard with an early morning delivery from DHL. Yes, that's right....the nia is here at last!
For those of us who have absolutely no idea what the nia is, or why we're jumping around like school kids at the beginning of the summer holidays, the nia is most probably the most advanced device to make its way onto retailers' shelves in a LONG time. Capable of reading neuronal discharges in the brain, muscular signals and retinal movements, OCZ have marketed the device at gamers, claiming that the device can be used as a kind of brain-powered-joystick to compliment, and possibly even replace, the traditional keyboard or mouse during gaming. Not only this, but by cutting out a large portion of the time that the body would usually take to relay information from the eye down through the body to our hands and fingers, the nia is also reported to reduce reaction times by anything up to 60%.
The nia is also extremely unique in that, unlike most products reviewed on Overclock3D, it can't simply be picked up, tested and put down again. Our previous news post probably explains it best: "While the nia is clearly a breakthrough in technology, it's certainly not going to make anybody a professional gamer over night. In much the same way as it takes several years to learn how to touch-type without looking at the keyboard, the nia will similarly require significant 'brain training' before a user can competently navigate around a map in a game"
. Not only this, but while most products are pretty consistent between each user, the nia can almost be compared to voice recognition software in that its success varies between users.
So how exactly do you review a device that takes months to learn and produces varied results depending on the user? Well, the only way that we could think of was to get as many of the OC3D review team down to HQ nice and early on Saturday morning and hand the unit around. At the end of the day we'd each write a short report on what we thought, and then pass the unit on to the most active FPS gamer for a full month of testing with weekly updates.
So without further ado...let's get down to business...