NAIT students develop hands-free, mind-controlled video game
A group of Digital Media and IT students have helped build what could be the most brain-draining video game ever to come out of NAIT.
Project Vulcan, a prototype built under the guidance of game design instructor Armand Cadieux and game programming instructor John Winski, is set aboard a space station. The concept alone is a mindbender: you’re a robot trying to escape by embodying a series of stronger robots.
The real trip, however, lies in the direction the game pushes the industry. Players don’t take over other robots using a handheld controller; they use their thoughts (hence the nod to Star Trek’s “Vulcan mind meld”), read by brain-scanning headset and converted by the students’ software into actions onscreen.
The project originated as a look into the potential applications of the headgear – a relatively new, off-the-shelf technology that is seeing increased use in video games, but rarely in role-playing games like Project Vulcan. Evidently, Cadieux and Winski take that as an invitation to push the limits.
“How we play games has dramatically changed in the last couple years,” says Cadieux.
To him, brain sensors are the logical next step following the touch screens, motion sensors and augmented reality that have transformed the industry.
“We’re teaching students how to build a game but also how to think beyond and bring in all this other hardware.”
To read more about Project Vulcan, click here or visit techlifemag.ca. The fall edition of techlife magazine, NAIT’s technology and lifestyle magazine for alumni and friends of the institute, is online now. Physical copies of the magazine can be provided to media outlets on request.
NAIT is one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, with almost 80,000 registrations worldwide in key areas including science, technology and the environment, business, health and trades. Known for real-world education and student success, NAIT also engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. NAIT enrolled its first students in 1962.
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