OCZ’s Neural Impulse Actuator marks a new era in gaming. Rather than being a substitute for a mouse, the nia is a pioneer new peripheral to be used in conjunction with your mouse for a more immersive gaming experience.
The nia is compatible with any PC game using keyboard input…past, present, or future. Predefined profiles included with the software allow the gamer to develop their own nia – memory to launch the desired behavior of their character and shoot with the “blink of an eye”, without lifting a figure.
Nia translate electrical biosignals of your body directly into computer commands and take advantage of total immersion into game play. Customize behavioral profiles of your character and let your subconsciousness take over.
Playing computer games with the nia as opposed to a standard keyboard is different, meaning that the user needs to forget some of the learned habits and to acquire a different set of skills in order to interface with the computer. The nia takes just a few steps to configure and gamers can be literally up and running in your favorite game in a matter of minutes. Just like there is conventional memory and muscle memory, the user will also develop nia memory and within a short period of time, the body will remember the reactions it underwent to achieve the desired actions on the computer.
The underlying principle of operation is to present the user with a variety of behavioral choices and to let the user adapt to the requirements in each scenario. In the beginning, most users will primarily use muscle signals, however, within a short period of time, these muscle signals will become auxiliary and more subtle signals will take over. Those signals are primarily levels of excitation that cause release of adrenaline by the sympathetic nervous system and acetylcholine by the parasympathetic components of the autonomous nervous system. Among those responses are facial and ocular reflexes like the eye-lid reflex (one of the fastest reflexes in the body that can be used for shooting), and the pupil reflex. Reflexes are also mirrored in the governance of facial blood flow, i.e. the contraction or relaxation of the smooth muscles of the blood vessels that contribute to the electrical signals. All of these signals are being picked up and with increasing experience, voluntary responses will become more and more subordinate and will be replaced by subconscious or unconscious, reflex-based actions.
The nia features an intuitive GUI to allow the user to calibrate signals and coordinate and assign commands.
In general, two types of commands are possible, namely so-called “switch-events” and “joysticks”. Switch events are all or nothing responses that are triggered once the signal amplitude exceeds a certain threshold and are comparable to a digital mode of operation. Joysticks are graded responses on a predefined scale, where “zones” of signal strength can be defined. In addition to vertical joysticks that reflect levels of activity, a horizontal joystick based on lateral eye movements can be used. Both switch events and joystick zones can be arbitrarily bound to keyboard keys or mouse buttons as they are defined in any game’s “options”.
The intuition of the computer behavior is the most important thing to consider when creating a profile for a specific game. However, it is in the interest of any nia user to try anything that comes to mind and to promulgate any profiles that work. It is also necessary to be aware that the capabilities of the nia are different from those of a keyboard, and consequently, the strategies in game play will have to be adjusted in order to take advantage of the shorter reaction times and the higher level of immersion inside the game. For example, the nia will work best in very crowded combat scenes in FPS games where it’s necessary to shoot the enemy with the blink of an eye, whereas mileage in slow game sequences will vary. Also, the nia can be used as a complementary interface with the computer in combination with any other input device. For example in games like World of Warcraft, the 4 or 5 most common keys can be bound to the nia, and the other keys are then entered via keyboard.