Brain Driver aims to enable severely disabled people to play video games using power of the mind
A new programme called Brain Driver aims to enable people with mobility impairments to play video games easily. Users can make their moves by simply focusing on their hands. If the trials succeed, Brain Driver could revolutionise the way disabled people play video games.
There are some really interesting computer games available in the market today. Who wouldn’t love to try out Star Wars, Mortal Kombat or Apex Legends? But few of them are accessible to people with disabilities.
There are new technologies that are changing this. They are enabling disabled people to enjoy the video games first-hand. Now there’s a new programme called Brain Driver in the picture which lets users steer cars just thinking about their hand movements.
The user’s brain signals are transmitted to a computer via electrodes that are placed on their head. This helps them to steer the car to whichever directions they would love to. All that they need to do is think about which hand they want to use and the direction that they intend to move. The car will move straight if the user thinks about both their hands together. Want to slow down your vehicle? Just calm your mind.
Krishnakumar PS, a disability rights activist from Kerala, has limited mobility due to muscular dystrophy. He plans to track the progress of this programme’s trials, currently underway in Switzerland, closely.
Until a few years back, I had some movement in my hands and I used to be an ardent fan of video games during that time. I was literally an addict. Even now, I install games and play them with the help of my friends. This new ‘Brain Driver’ is going to be helpful for many people like me. I hope this concept is introduced in the market soon so that I can get back to gaming. There are many people like me who wants to play video games but are unable to do so. – Krishnakumar PS, Disability rights activist
To get the most out of it, the gamer has to concentrate fully. Brain Driver will be featured at the Cybathlon Championships 2020, an event that showcases technological devices for people with disabilities. Four people are taking part in the trials and so far it has received good reviews.
Robin Tommy, who works with Tata Consultancy Services, is part of a team that recently developed two devices – Virtual Rehabilitation (VHAB) and Assisto device for people with neuromuscular disabilities. He says his team is also woking on something similar to ‘Brain Driver’.
“A device like ‘Brain Driver’ is not merely about getting signals from the brain. The technology used in this is next level. Things like this can be a driving factor to find many new things”, say Tommy.
After the success of this project, researchers hope that this will pave way to developing technology to help disabled people to control their wheelchairs and other devices.