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Gamers zap brain-to-computer kit market to US$200m by 2020

No need to shave your head just yet, but poseur gamers might do it anyway

Brain-to-Machine Interface (BMI) products will become a US$200m market by 2020, and the action will kick off this Christmas season according to analyst outfit ABI research.

The firm reckons “tapping into brain activity as a means of understanding human behavior, or controlling an external activity are now possible” and that products directed at gamers will be the result.

“Combining augmented reality, eye-tracking, and BMI headgear will give elite players the upper-hand in real-time multiplayer gaming,” gushes research director Jeff Orr, who doesn't think electrode-equipped helmets will debut anytime soon because they need to be fitted precisely.

Brain-powered toys are already available: the Star Wars Force Trainer has been doing the rounds since 2009. That device was, however, limited to raising and lowering a ping pong ball with the power of your mind, hardly a task that represents hours of fun for the whole family.

ABI reckons the new wave of products will be more compelling and sell rather better. A first wave of gaming-centric products will mean 2015 sees US$9.7 million in sales of around 20,000 devices. By 2020 we'll be looking at 850,000 shipments and $205 million in sales. BMI devices will be biggest in Japan, where “the country’s advanced medical research community and savvy consumer technology buyers” will see things accelerate nicely and see the nation overtake North America and Europe as the biggest BMI market. ®

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