Valve is investigating the possibilities of brain-computer interfaces, for example for gaming. Gabe Newell, the co-founder of that company, reported this in an interview with New Zealand’s 1News.
Newell tells 1News that Valve is currently using OpenBCI headsets to develop open source software. “We’re working on an open source project so that anyone can get high-resolution brain signal reading technologies built into headsets in a lot of different ways.”
OpenBCI unveiled a new design of such a brain interface last year, called Galea. Galea is intended to be integrated into VR or AR headsets and comes with SDKs to bring biometric data from Galilee to 3D engines, third party software and ‘all common programming languages’.
The Valve CEO himself says that the idea of brain-computer interfaces is “indistinguishable from science fiction”, but he also says that it would be a “dumb mistake” if developers did not experiment with them. Newell also reports that Valve will not be launching such a product in the short term. “The speed at which we learn things is so fast that you don’t want to prematurely commit everything, build a product and go through all the approval processes, when in six months we have something that would have enabled a lot of other features.”
OpenBCI introduced its Galea bci . in November
Brain-computer interfaces could be used in games, among other things. BCIs, according to Newell, will lead to gaming experiences that are far better than what a player can get through his eyes and ears. “The real world will no longer be the benchmark we use for the best possible visual fidelity.”
Outside of games, such brain-computer interfaces could improve various aspects of human life. Newell cites sleep as an example. “Sleep will become an app,” said the Valve CEO. With BCIs, users could decide for themselves how long and how deeply they want to sleep. Valve also contributes to projects that develop synthetic body parts in exchange for expertise.
Newell further emphasizes some risks of BCIs. He calls the idea that a brain interface makes someone feel pain a “complicated subject,” with developers applying that feature to make users feel the pain of their in-game character. In addition, the Valve CEO adds that BCIs will also be susceptible to malware, just like other digital devices.
Gabe Newell and Valve talked about bci headsets for gaming before. For example, the CEO said in an interview with IGN last year that ‘we are closer to The Matrix than people think’. Other major companies are also researching brain interfaces, including Neuralink, an Elon Musk company.