The University of Washington’s Center for Neurotechnology recently invited NPR’s Elise Hu to participate in a demonstration of a brain-computer interface that allows users “to move Tetris-like shapes on a computer screen using only thoughts.”
Sound incredible? It is. It’s also not the first time you might have heard of a mentally controlled video game similar to Tetris being played in real life or in fiction.
In Imminent Dawn, one of the novel’s main characters uses the EMPATHY internet-access brain implant to play a version of a game called Dallas, which, at its time of release as a mobile game, drew critical comparisons to, you guessed it, Tetris.
Woe be it of me to accuse anyone of stealing this idea; in fact, a glance around mobile gaming stores will show a number of puzzle-based games that could, in some way or another, be compared to Tetris. It’s a classic, after all, and there’s nothing wrong with a little homage to the games that came before us.
In fact, I think it’s wonderful that we’re seeing similar advancements play out both in fiction and in fact. It demonstrates humans can independently develop similar innovations, and knowing this should bring us closer together more than it should divide us.
After all, what would the Electronic Mechanism Purposed for the Achievement of a Truly Hybrid Yield be about if not creating actual lower-case empathy between people everywhere?
We’re still quite far from EMPATHY becoming a reality in our world, but the horizon is approaching more quickly than you might think. If you’re interested in this or similar topics, check out the original article and video through NPR here, or read up on how other brain-computer interfaces are helping users compose music directly through their minds here.
If you want to go really hard on this topic, consider checking out the first two books of the EMPATHY sci-fi saga, which are available at the links below. And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, where I’ll be blogging not only about the EMPATHY series itself, but about topics related to it as well.