An unbeatable computer game?

August 30, 2007 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Yeti character
"Yeti" is the character in a new computer game that has the potential to predict a player´s move in advance by measuring skin conductance. Image credit: YetiSports.

Researchers have come up with an idea to design a computer game that knows a player’s move about two seconds before the move is made. Using measurements of players’ skin conductance, the computer’s sensors can tell when a player is about to press a button.

Laszlo Laufer and Bottyan Nemeth at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary developed the idea of a frustrating computer game to learn more about biofeedback signals analysis, which could have more useful applications in real life. The researchers told New Scientist, for example, that the technology could be used to help speed up a person’s reaction time, which could be beneficial for pilots in military operations.

For now, though, the computer game, called YetiSports part 8: JungleSwing, is available for anyone to play at yetisports.org (free registration is required). Although the appropriate hardware is required for biofeedback sensors, the rules of the game can still be seen: an ape-like Yeti tries to climb a tree by swinging from branch to branch. A player must click the mouse at the correct moment for Yeti to swing to the next branch; if not, Yeti falls to the ground.

Laufer and Nemeth had subjects test the game, taking measurements of the subjects’ heart rates, skin conductance, and electrical activity in the brain. The scientists were surprised to find that skin conductance by itself was sufficient to predict a jump two seconds in advance.

With this information, Laufer has suggested the possibility for a “frustration game”—that is, a game that would slow down or speed up just before a jump to throw a player off. While previous research has been done on using EEG signals as a type of game control, skin conductance has the advantage of potentially being able to be built right in to future game controllers.

Explore further: Better together: graphene-nanotube hybrid switches

Related Stories

Better together: graphene-nanotube hybrid switches

August 2, 2015

Graphene has been called a wonder material, capable of performing great and unusual material acrobatics. Boron nitride nanotubes are no slackers in the materials realm either, and can be engineered for physical and biological ...

Older Australians are embracing video games

July 28, 2015

Over the past decade, stereotypes that video games were a popular medium intended only for youths have been eroded. It is clear that video games are also a popular medium for adults.

New 'molecular movie' reveals ultrafast chemistry in motion

June 19, 2015

Scientists for the first time tracked ultrafast structural changes, captured in quadrillionths-of-a-second steps, as ring-shaped gas molecules burst open and unraveled. Ring-shaped molecules are abundant in biochemistry and ...

Scale-free networking gives humans a competitive edge

June 17, 2015

Humans arrange themselves into scale-free networks to give themselves a competitive edge according to research published this month in Nature's Scientific Reports. The work conducted by University of Sydney researchers expands ...

Recommended for you

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.