Flinging birds and slaying pigs with your thoughts


[Rafael Mizrahi and Anat Sambol] decided that Angry Birds was missing one crucial element – mind control. They grabbed a copy of the game for their netbook and [Rafael] strapped on an Emotiv EPOC headset to see if he could play it without using a mouse or keyboard. While he was able to move the cursor around with his thoughts, he found that Emotiv’s EmoKey software lacked any sort of mouse button support. Undaunted, they turned to the Internet for help and found that he could map the Emotiv’s output to his mouse via another application, GlovePie.

As you can see in the video below their efforts were successful, though we doubt [Rafael] will be completely giving up his mouse just yet. With some more refinement, we imagine [Rafael] will be blasting pigs to kingdom come in no time.

If you are interested in trying this yourself, be aware that only the SDK version of the EPOC headset can be paired with 3rd party applications, the standard consumer version is locked into using solely authorized software.

Continue reading if you would like to see a video of their Angry Birds neural interface in action.


  1. Tech B. says:

    +1 for GlovePie

    I first came across it when I was working with interfacing with a Wii mote.

  2. Ratty says:

    Hacker uses software and hardware for its intended purpose, more at 10!
    Perhaps getting the locked-down verstion of the hardware (or software) to work in debug mode just as this does would be quite noteworthy however.
    Guess it’s my turn to be grumpy.

  3. pff says:

    so this is what it has come to hackaday?

    i’m building a desk a bought from ikea next week, maybe you want to feature that?

  4. Eater says:

    “…the standard consumer version is locked into using solely authorized software.”

    Not if you use this: https://github.com/daeken/Emokit

  5. jaqen says:

    @pff: only if you use another tool to screw it together than the one that comes with the set, because that would be hacking :-)

  6. Wisefire says:

    Awesome, love the idea of completing a angry birds level solely using your mind.

  7. ZeroCool42 says:

    @Wisefire: Me too!

    To everyone moaning, I say this: Perhaps this was featured because it might inspire something even more ingenious, or purely because it’s awesome.

    If it doesn’t interest you, fine, no-one’s forcing you to read, and CERTAINLY no-one’s forcing you to write bitchy comments.

    I don’t complain when an article isn’t relevant to me, because it’s probably relevant to someone! Yes, this may be an example of using the software and hardware for it’s intended purpose, but it show’s what’s possible with the two, an application that I had not considered. If you had, good for you, but don’t moan about it!

    So next time you go to complain about an article not being relevant to you, think about if it’s relevant to other’s first. The whole world doesn’t revolve around YOU!

  8. sardaukar says:

    @ZeroCool42: +1 (you tell’em, bro!)

  9. Tech B. says:

    What’s up with all the whiners here?

    LOL, I’m complaining about the complaining.

  10. ZeroCool42 says:

    @sardaukar: Haha, thanks. I know one is not supposed to feed the trolls, but sometimes I can’t resist :P.

    @Tech B: Agreed. The hackaday staff work hard trying to bring us interesting and inspiring things to read, and I just get annoyed when I see people complaining!

  11. Stevie says:

    I think it was featured cos hackaday has been slow as hell the last week or two and they’re running out of crap to post. Oh well, it was interesting. Kinda.

  12. falldeaf says:

    Nicely said, ZeroCool42. If you’d like a short-cut though, I found this video on reddit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI

  13. twopartepoxy says:

    don’t see what all the whining is about. maybe its not the most a-team of hacks, but its quite illustrative of some methods that may be of interest to the wider audience for other hacksnmods. i actually like this kind of post, interspersed with other hardcore hacks.

  14. ZeroCool42 says:

    @falldeaf: Darn it, why didn’t you tell me that BEFORE I typed all that out? :P

  15. yucomplainguy says:

    I know a few of these guys personally and to all the complainers, it comes down to this:

    They operate on tips. You send them something and they write about it. Garbage in garbage out.

    So if you do not like what you see here get off your ass and actually build something instead of bitching about it.

  16. hawkeyaez1 says:

    So when is this coming to Android for an alternative HID?

  17. Eric says:

    Great idea, and Great project. Keep up the great work. I can’t wait until we all can control our computers without moving a finger, especially typing. Think of the possibilities!

  18. sardaukar says:

    @Eric: yeah, mostly for pr0n :D

  19. Aaron says:

    “Think of the possibilities!”

    But carefully, so as to avoid generating spurious control inputs. :D

  20. doktorj says:

    @ ZeroCool42: I thought you was black man.

  21. M4CGYV3R says:

    I like Angry Birds! I couldn’t kill the pigs with the birds, so I just smashed the phone on the ground and they went away! Sweet! That’s my hack!

  22. Mike says:

    The Emotiv shop sells only to U.S. Any way of getting it to Australia? :/

  23. Mike says:

    Just found out SDK with headset ships worldwide..

  24. CrashOverride42 says:

    ZeroCool42: hehe, totally agree

  25. ZeroCool42 says:

    @doktorj: Heh, I love it when someone gets the reference :)

  26. DarkFader says:

    Be the bird… feel angry.
    Bah. he has the same first name as me too.

  27. ZeroCool42 says:

    @DarkFader: Hehe, I suspect you were only joking, but I love the idea of firing the birds by feeling angry!

    I’m ashamed to admit that despite being a psychology student, I’m not sure if this could be done (at all, let alone with this particular brain-wave reader) though, I’m sure one could cheat and do it by blood pressure or something :P

  28. The Basic version of EPOC headset (as opponent to the SDK version) comes with a free mapping software which lets you map “thoughts” and “facial impression” to keyboard key strokes. you can use such key mapping to control 3rd party applications.

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