Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Novel Method to Let Gamers Communicate Using Their Minds

The lights’ different flashing patterns trigger unique types of activity in the brain, which the caps can pick up

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FILE - Gamers play Minecraft at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France. VOA

Imagine playing video games together with your friends seated at different places while communicating only with your minds. Researchers from University of Washington including one of Indian-origin have developed a method just to do that, brining telepathic communication a step closer to reality.

In the study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, the researchers showed that three people can play a Tetris-like game using a brain-to-brain interface.

This is the first demonstration of two things — a brain-to-brain network of more than two people, and a person being able to both receive and send information to others using only their brain.

“We wanted to know if a group of people could collaborate using only their brains. That’s how we came up with the idea of BrainNet: where two people help a third person solve a task,” said corresponding author Rajesh Rao.

As in Tetris, the game shows a block at the top of the screen and a line that needs to be completed at the bottom.

Two people, the Senders, can see both the block and the line but can’t control the game.

The third person, the Receiver, can see only the block but can tell the game whether to rotate the block to successfully complete the line.

Each Sender decides whether the block needs to be rotated and then passes that information from their brain, through the Internet and to the brain of the Receiver.

Then the Receiver processes that information and sends a command — to rotate or not rotate the block — to the game directly from their brain, hopefully completing and clearing the line.

Games of change festival
New video games are increasingly seeking to target issues of social injustice in a user-friendly interface . VOA

The team asked five groups of participants to play 16 rounds of the game. For each group, all three participants were in different rooms and couldn’t see, hear or speak to one another.

The Senders each could see the game displayed on a computer screen. The screen also showed the word “Yes” on one side and the word “No” on the other side.

Beneath the “Yes” option, an LED flashed 17 times per second. Beneath the “No” option, an LED flashed 15 times a second.

“Once the Sender makes a decision about whether to rotate the block, they send ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the Receiver’s brain by concentrating on the corresponding light,” said first author Linxing Preston Jiang.

The Senders wore electroencephalography caps that picked up electrical activity in their brains.

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The lights’ different flashing patterns trigger unique types of activity in the brain, which the caps can pick up.

So, as the Senders stared at the light for their corresponding selection, the cap picked up those signals, and the computer provided real-time feedback by displaying a cursor on the screen that moved toward their desired choice.

The selections were then translated into a “Yes” or “No” answer that could be sent over the Internet to the Receiver.

“To deliver the message to the Receiver, we used a cable that ends with a wand that looks like a tiny racket behind the Receiver’s head. This coil stimulates the part of the brain that translates signals from the eyes,” said co-author Andrea Stocco. (IANS)

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India Becomes Top-Priority Gaming Creator on YouTube

To promote Indian content creators, YouTube is set to kick off its "NextUp for Gamers" initiative in Chennai

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YouTube
More than 200 million gamers come to YouTube every single day globally to watch gaming videos and streams. In 2018, they watched over 50 billion hours of gaming content on the platform. Pixabay

Unrepresented in the global online gaming community till couple of years back, India today is churning out next-generation of gaming creators on YouTube and the momentum is picking up fast not only in English and Hindi but also in vernacular languages, a top company executive said on Monday.

Games like PUBG have created a sizable livestreaming community in India which is the third largest gaming market for the Google-owned video-sharing website, which last reported over 265 million monthly active users in the country.

“India is the top-priority gaming market for us in the APAC region. We are excited to see a growing livestreaming community on YouTube from here and will extend all our support to help them gain further ground,” Ines Cha, Head of Creator Ecosystem and Gaming Partnerships, APAC, YouTube, told IANS.

“The Indian gaming creators were waiting for so long. They were so hungry to showcase their gaming skills to the world. Seeing their passion and engagement, we will double down on our efforts to help them create more useful content like in the field of education,” Cha added.

More than 200 million gamers come to YouTube every single day globally to watch gaming videos and streams. In 2018, they watched over 50 billion hours of gaming content on the platform.

In India, PUBG Mobile videos are over 15 times more frequently uploaded while “Garena Free Fire” (mobile game) videos are fine times more frequently uploaded in India compared to the rest of the world.

“Gaming content in India used to be mostly in Hindi and English. Now we’re seeing the rise of gaming content in other Indic languages such as Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam. Non-Hindi creators with less than 5,000 subscribers in 2018 are hitting six-figure subscriber numbers today,” informed Cha.

YouTube
The time is ripe to see the Indian gaming ecosystem explode and YouTube will make sure it is right there for the gaming enthusiasts. Pixabay

Livestreaming continues to be an area of growth for creators, with watch-time increasing by 10 times over the last three years.

Among the most-viewed genres in India are Battle Royale, Action Adventure, and Sandbox games such as PUBG Mobile, GTA5 and Minecraft.

In Chennai, the most popular game is “Garena Free Fire” while PUBG Mobile is very popular in Mumbai.

Back in 2017, there was only one channel in the gaming genre over one million subscribers — CarryMinati — which was also an entertainment first channel doing commentary on gameplay.

Over the last two years, there has been a shift from entertainment-led gaming content to core gaming, including live streaming, e-sports and tutorials in local and regional languages, says YouTube.

YouTube
India today is churning out next-generation of gaming creators on YouTube and the momentum is picking up fast not only in English and Hindi but also in vernacular languages. Pixabay

The growth of online gaming in India has exploded over the past few years.

Some of the leading creators include Dynamo Gaming with over 5.61 subscribers, Mortal with over 3.39 million subscribers and CarryisLive with 2.97 million subscribers.

To promote Indian content creators, YouTube is set to kick off its “NextUp for Gamers” initiative in Chennai on November 21.

Launched in India last year, the initiative provides creators with an opportunity to be mentored by production and channel development experts in new production techniques to further enhance their content.

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“The time is ripe to see the Indian gaming ecosystem explode and YouTube will make sure it is right there for the gaming enthusiasts. The momentum is all across the country and is not just limited to few cities,” said Cha. (IANS)