OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator (nia) - The Log

The Software

The Software
With the OCZ nia being such a revolutionary device, the pressure was obviously on OCZ to produce a comprehensive set of instructions that would allow users to get the most out of their purchase. Thankfully, after completing a fairly bog-standard "Click Next" installation of the nia software, the first screen you are presented with is a tutorial index.
OCZ NIA Tutorial OCZ NIA Tutorial
OCZ have used an animated female CGI character to talk you through some of the basics, including an overview of what the device is and how the headband should be positioned on your head. At this point, we'd also like to mention that the side sensors on the headband do not appear to work very well through hair, so those of us with long hair may have quite a job getting the headband on without it getting trapped. This was clearly evident when we tested the nia on a female in the office who needed one person to hold her hair while she positioned the headband in accordance with the tutorial.
The tutorial index itself is made up of 18 individual sections, some of which only have text-based information. Unfortunately, we couldn't help but feel that the various stages of the tutorial should have really been integrated into the "Calibration" and "Practice" sections as more of a walk-through while configuring the device, rather than a separate area that you often find yourself referring to.
OCZ NIA Calibration OCZ NIA Calibration
Calibration of the nia for muscle signals is fairly easy and consists of concentrating on a gyroscope in the middle of the screen for several seconds while the software measures your muscle activity. The spikes in the line graph shown above-right represent instances where we purposely tensed our facial muscles.
OCZ NIA BrainFingers
The next section, entitled "BrainFingers", gives an overview of each of the nia's sensors and their current activity in bar graph format. In all honesty, this section was quite baffling as both the Alpha and Beta signals danced up and down in fairly random patterns, while the "Glance" bar didn't budge even slightly no matter how much any of us moved our eyes or glanced at different areas of the screen.
OCZ NIA Reaction Times
To test the configuration of the nia, OCZ have also provided three "Practice" programs. The first, named "Reaction Time", allows you to test the configuration of the Muscle signal by providing a target that flashes up on screen which you need to click on using only muscle signals/movements.
The second is a good old fashioned game of "Pong", in which you need to move the paddle up and down the screen to return the ball. This was probably the most fun part of the entire configuration process and you can watch the videos of our progress over on the next page.
Finally, "Glance Practice" tests your ability to control the glance aspect of the nia by flashing targets up on the left and right of the screen. By moving your eyes to the left and right (depending on the position of the target) the target disappears for several seconds displaying the time taken to react to each one of the targets.
OCZ NIA Key Bindings OCZ NIA Key Bindings
OCZ NIA Key Bindings OCZ NIA Key Bindings
Once you've got to grips with each of the nia's sensors, profiles can be created for each of the games you use. Some are already pre-configured, but in all honesty we found it best to start again with a brand new profile and assign the muscle, glance and brain activities you are currently able to perform on the nia to keys for use within the game.
While we were only able to get one activity assigned to an in-game key during the first day of testing, we can imagine that over time you will undoubtedly assign more and more keys to activities as you gain experience with the device.
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Most Recent Comments

01-06-2008, 18:56:24

Awww man I'm still a touch gutted I couldn't make it there mate

Looks like good annoying fun.

I'll look forward to the updates. I just really want to see in a couple of months the videos people post up so we can really get an idea of what this is capable of in a game. Also hearing other experiences of how people have learned to practice certain functions and control all the different "brainfingers" at once.Quote

01-06-2008, 19:04:28

that looks mind boggling

kinda fun though...


i dunno what to make of it though tbh..Quote

01-06-2008, 19:28:29

Nick R
It would be interesting to see what you can do with a little more experience to be honest. I'd imagine the more you use it the more advanced functions you would be able to use. Maybe even ditch the mouse for just desktop use?Quote

01-06-2008, 20:28:16

With experience you could control the brainfingers I think, and they could be used in game for click / key functions but they are nowhere near complex enough to allow fluid movement or aiming or moving of cursors. That may come one day soon but I think that's the mistake a lot of people will be making when they go to buy one.

With plenty of practice it would become near subconscious I think, but I cannot see how it would be a viable piece of gaming gear yet, you would need to be playing in a sealed pod with 0 distraction and an epic attention span. Otherwise one grin or glance at your watch and you'll shoot a team mate in the back.Quote

02-06-2008, 05:26:15

dugg and what can I say!? If only i coulda drove up xDQuote

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