Forget virtual reality, now you can control games with your MIND: Racing game uses brainwaves to power cars on a track

There’s been a lot of focus lately on the rise of virtual reality.

But one firm has developed what it considers to be the next level in gaming - a headset that lets you control on-screen and physical objects using just your mind.

In a demonstration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MailOnline put the technology to the test to see if it lives up to the hype.

The game was developed in partnership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Australian-based Emotiv.

A ‘driver’ is wired up to Emotiv’s electroencephalography (EEG) headset and the device is trained to read their unique brain patterns.

The first step involves training the headset to learn the wearer’s ‘neutral’ state. This involves ‘clearing their brain’.

They are then asked to think of a repetitive task that will associated with driving the car.

This doesn't need to be a driving-related thought; it can be any thought that the wearer can continuously think and repeat.

This is known as the ‘push’ state and for MailOnline’s test this involved thinking about playing Greensleeves on a piano and imaging the finger positions as they move through the chords.

Once the headset is trained the game begins. The wheels of an on-screen car begin to spin to signal that the brain patterns are being recognised.

The wearer is then asked to think about their repetitive task, at which point the car begins to move.


During the demonstration, these brain waves moved a car the size of a shoebox around a track and each race involves two players wired up to the headset.

The Emotive headsets are embedded with sensors that record electrical activity along the wearer’s scalp, forehead and above the right ear.

These sensors measure and monitor brain waves and these patterns are converted to commands using a brain-computer interface.

The technology is currently a proof-of-concept and there are no immediate plans to release the game and headset.

However, the EPOC Emotiv headset is available from $499 (£324) and it will work with existing brain-computer interface games and software that work with EEG readings.

The Emotiv headset used for the demonstration is called Insight and is available to pre-order ahead of the general release in April.


Victoria Woollaston tried out the IEEE and Emotiv technology at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Intense: MailOnline's Victoria Woollaston tries out the cutting-edge technology for herself

Intense: MailOnline's Victoria Woollaston tries out the cutting-edge technology for herself

‘This is the first time I’ve worn an EEG headset and expected it to be uncomfortable and intrusive, but it’s the opposite.

You hardly notice you’re wearing it, although its not the most discreet wearable.

‘Training the headset took less than a minute, for both the neural and push states, but trying to clear your brain is tricky at the best of times, let alone at a noisy and busy trade show.

The ‘push’ state activity can be any thought that the wearer can think about over and over again. The more precise the thought, the more accurate the pattern and command.

I chose to think about the chords of Greensleeves on a piano, but this could be anything from writing your name to thinking of person’s face.

As long as the thought is the same each time, the technology will work at its most efficient.

During the race I didn’t realise I was moving the car because I was too busy thinking about the piano chords.

My race time was nine seconds, which put me in 63rd place on the leaderboard or more than 100.

It’s a very strange experience.

It doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything and you can’t become immersed in the game or pay attention to the position of the cars because you’re concentrating on your thought pattern.

The technology feels extremely futuristic and I can see its potential but I felt it took away from the enjoyment of playing the game.’