MindMaze, the company building next-generation mind-machine interactions through neuro-virtual technology, launches MASK: the first-ever biosignal approach to translating pre-real time expressions into virtual reality (VR) experiences for gaming and social networking. With its pipeline of technologies for consumer VR/AR, MindMaze will continue to humanize virtual reality by bridging the emotional gap between the physical and virtual world. The company plans to partner with other players in the industry to deliver on the promise of bringing VR/AR to mainstream consumption.
Virtual Reality’s Current Hurdle:
Mainstream VR adoption has been held back by a lack of compelling, emotionally moving content that keeps people entertained and engaged beyond initial novelty phases, as consumers expect more than simply 360-degree views. Meanwhile, headsets have been mired in the first-adopter doldrums, with most people only willing to spend between $200 and $399 on a VR headset, according to recent survey findings from Touchstone Research. For the industry to move forward, technological leaps in content that work for console and inexpensive smartphone VR experiences are critical.
MASK is this step forward. It’s both a hardware and software-based solution that attaches to any console or smartphone VR viewer and translates a gamer or consumer’s physical real-time expressions – from smiles to scowls to frowns – to any game or app.
MASK Operates Even Faster Than Real Time
Leveraging advanced machine learning and biosignal processing developed initially for the healthcare industry, MASK decodes real-life facial expressions tens of milliseconds before it appears on a user’s face, and instantly replicates those expressions on the VR avatar.
First Up, Social Networking and Gaming Experiences:
For mainstream adoption, social VR needs to be an emotional experience, a truthful syncing of the physical body in all its expressive capacity with a digital avatar. MASK automatically synchronizes physical emotion with digital emotion by linking physical and digital faces through its neuro-VR technology. In gaming, developers can build playable characters that mimic the actual emotion of the gamer, heightening excitement, tension, and competitive elements by drawing upon reality as well as true connection with others.
“Humanizing virtual reality is a natural progression. What makes us human in social interactions is emotion, but that’s been missing in virtual reality so far,” says Tej Tadi, CEO and founder of MindMaze. “For the industry to progress, all experiences, but especially those in transmedia VR, have to improve. Until now it’s been stunted by the lack of quality, immersive content. MASK brings emotion, the ultimate driver of engagement, with the goal of evolving VR beyond novelty and into the mainstream.”
Here’s how MASK works:
Faster than real-time: Leverages advanced machine learning and biosignal processing to decode real-life facial expressions tens of milliseconds before they appear on a user’s face, and instantly replicates that expression on their avatar
Truly advanced expression tracking: Detects electrical impulses from the face and analyzes them with proprietary algorithms to create a neural signature of an individual’s expressions without training or calibration
An immersive transmedia experience: Designed as a lightweight foam insert, MASK’s hardware can easily embed into any VR headset, from mobile headsets like the Daydream and Gear VR to desktop-supported headsets, like the Vive and the RIFT
Designed to work with any VR headset, MASK is a direct result of MindMaze’s experience building medical-grade technology. Home to more than 40 patents and 20 PhD-level neuroscientists and physicists, MindMaze has developed a suite of rehabilitative neurotechnologies and partnered with hospitals such as UCSF Medical Center, Stanford Stroke Center, Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, and Geneva University Hospital to rehabilitate stroke victims and amputees.
MASK is now available for licensing with features that bring the most advanced, emotionally immersive VR/AR technology to desktop and mobile applications.
MindMaze is pioneering a breakthrough computing platform that captures brain activity upon intent, creating a new operating system for computers – a brain O/S. Based on a decade of rigorous testing in the healthcare industry, the company has designed an intuitive mind/machine interface, which utilizes pre real-time decoding of brain signals via neural prediction. Its innovations based are poised to transform industries, starting with healthcare and gaming. MindMotion Pro, its first product, is a portable device to speed early rehab from brain injuries. MASK, a sensor for virtual reality systems that detects and reflects emotions in pre-realtime, will humanize social VR. Founded by Tej Tadi in 2012, the company is based in Lausanne, Switzerland with U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, CA.
Dr Tej Tadi, a neuroscientist, founded MindMaze in 2011 to develop technologies that help patients recover from brain injuries. The company’s products use virtual reality, brain imaging and gaming technologies to retrain the brain in stroke victims, with solutions coming for spinal cord injury and amputee patients.