Have you ever wished that you could live a life inside The Matrix, with your brain directly wired into a computer system that lets you go about life however you please in an imaginary world? Well, we're not quite there yet, but some researchers at the Keio University Biomedical Engineering Laboratory are getting close. Led by professor Jun'ichi Ushiba, the researchers have developed a brain-computer interface (BCI) that works directly with Second Life. Users can walk or fly their avatars throughout the virtual world, as well as move their limbs, change directions, and perform a variety of other tasks by merely thinking about it.
The technology is possible through the use of a headpiece equipped with electrodes attached to an electroencephalograph (EEG). The EEG then monitors for brain activity, particularly in the "cortical motor area" of the brain that controls bodily movement. It passes the signals through to the computer, which are then translated into commands within the game. Thus, thinking about walking forward, hopping on your giant, pink flamingo with your virtual girlfriend, and riding off into the sunset can all be possible within Second Life without having to lift a finger.