Forget dance mats and joysticks, even trance vibrators: biofeedback is the cool interface on my Christmas wishlist. Slide three rings on your finger, pay $150 (or a little less) and play The Journey to Wild Divine, Steven Johnson writes in his December column on emerging technology. Wilde Divine is a game where you aim an arrow by altering your mood – and thereby the electrical impulses those rings measure on your finger. Or breathe in time with bellows to light a fire. To succeed you need to reach a state of meditative calm quite opposite to the cramped anxiety I experience when I try to play shooters. And do you know, one of the aims of the game developers is “teaching the user to regulate internal systems without going on a Transcendental Meditation retreat or signing up for a yoga class.” Intriguing, no?

3 thoughts on “mood-altering

  1. Rorschach

    I think it was NASA that did something like this a couple years ago where they wired the controller to the FPS to the biofeedback device. The less relaxed or “alpha” that you were, the harder it was to control your character (the less control you had). The only way to really control your character in the game was to relax.

    I don’t remember the specifics but they weren’t doing the research with some relaxing game, but instead were using Quake or something similar. Yes, having eight bad guys running at you, the more you tense up and the less control you have so all you’re supposed to do is relaaax.

    Yeah. Right.

    I know that there were people insterested in doing a commercial application with the bio-feedback control but I haven’t seen anything since until this. This is a little different though; no one’s running after you with a chain-saw trying to make you relax.

  2. blog - PÂl tÊnker

    Well, plug me in…
    It’s not the Matrix yet, but there is definately an upcoming trend of merging leisure and electronics in a cyborgish way. This article brings the news of gameplaying experience being enhanced by electrical microcurrents to the inner ear. Alledgedly the…

  3. miscellany is the largest category

    Journey to Wild Divine
    Like Jill, I’m fascinated by the idea behind The Journey to Wild Divine game, an “Inner-Active” computer game. In my dissertation work, I’m working towards an examination of embodied computing in gaming that broadens the reach of the avatar beyond…

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