Play Your Video Games

Mind Control Games Become Newest Invention to Freak Us Out

But are these games manufactured on Risa?
 Mind Control Games Become Newest Invention to Freak Us Out

Star Trek’s version of a mind control game. (wikipedia.org)

If you’re a Star Trek nerd like the majority of the Betabeat staff, you’ll probably read the following with more than a healthy dose of skepticism: Today, the Wall Street Journal reported on tech companies that are building simple and inexpensive games that harness mind control technology. Hmm… sound familiar?

According to the Journal:

The gadgets translate brain waves into digital information and beam it wirelessly to computers or other devices….The technology, still in its infancy, has the potential to not only entertain but to possibly improve education and strengthen mental health, some doctors say.

While novelty headset games do sound pretty awesome, we’re most impressed by the psychological benefits games like these could provide. The Journal reports that these games use the same kind of brain-wave technology–electroencephalograph, or EEG–that psychiatrists have used to train the brain to “fight against acute conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit disorder.” If we could use EEG techniques to combat mental illness, imagine how positively life-changing that could be for so many people.

Still, the coolest example of the mind-control technology we’ve seen are these robotic cat ears that react to both thoughts and mood. Plus, like most things that come out of Japan, they’re really, really cute.

We’re all for Star Trek technology, but can we focus on building transporters or holodecks? Those seem way more fun and useful than mind games. Don’t get us wrong–mind-control games seem great us as long as they don’t divert into addictive territory. If that happens, hopefully Wesley Crusher is still down to save us all.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com