I know it's dorky, but I always thought that these electrocardiography input devices were cool.

Neural activity generates electrical potentials that are picked up by the three electrodes that are on the forehead of the user. The actuator then separates the electrical activities into three classes of neural and electromyographic signals. That is electro oculographic, electro encephalographic and electromyographic signals for those who are wondering! These signals are said to reflect the activities of the extraocular muscles, the brain, and the facial muscles.

These signals are then decoded and combined with each other to create unique commands based on the specific permutation of brain, eye and facial muscle activity. What's really weird about the technology is that it really does work! OCZ informed LR that the technology behind the neural impulse actuator is ready to go and they will be bringing the actuator to market. Unlike other products this device hooks into existing games now and allows you to play games like Unreal Tournament already. There is a learning curve to using one of these, but it's pretty easy and should take ~2 minutes to get the device working.

The device is cool because it allows you to control a computer with your thoughts. It's also an output-only device, which is reassuring. I guess it's kind of like a chord keyboard-- you have a few different binary outputs, and you combine them together to get 2^n possible output symbols.

It seems like they are targeting the gamer market. Will people be willing to buy this device-- and climb the substantial learning curve-- to get an edge in their favorite first-person-shooter game?

The biggest market for this device will be gamers as they will be able to use the neural impulse actuator in combination with the a mouse to control the shooting, jumping, running, etc. in FPS games. OCZ hopes to bring the actuator to market by year’s end and hope to bring it to market at around $300 USD.

It's an old idea. Atari produced such a device-- the Atari Mindlink. It was canned by Jack Tramiel when he took over the company. As the AtariMuseum site says:

A combination of headband with Infrared Transmitter and Infrared Receiver, the Atari Mindlink system could connect to your Atari VCS 2600, Atari 7800 and Atari Home Computers. Using specially written software you could control the action on the screen. The headband would read resistance from muscles in the users forehead and interpret them into commands on the screen. Although never released, feedback from Atari engineers and people who tested the Mindlink have commented that the time and effort put into the Mindlink system was wasted because the controllers did not perform well and gave people headaches from over concentration and constantly moving their eyebrows around to control the onscreen activities.

I wonder if OCZ's device will meet the same fate. I hope not. I'd love to have something like this for my laptop. I hate tiny laptop keyboards.