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Thank you from the BCI Game Jam Team!

Thank you for participating in the BCI Game Jam 2019! We are happy to help put (and accept) submissions onto the itch.io page - just send us a message on here or on our Discord channel. We will also gladly keep working with you throughout the next couple weeks/months to make sure your game is in tip-top shape for the kids to play!

Keep an eye on this page and our Discord for an upcoming special event as the judging roles out...

Thanks again for the great time this weekend and remember - Get your head in the game!

Game Jam Links:

 P300 Unity Backend Resources

As requested, the back-end resources for MATLAB and LabStreamingLayer for the P300 Unity tool used in the BCI Game Jam 2019 have been included in our github repository. Please see the README manual inside the .zip folder for detailed instructions on how to set-up and utilize this repository!

Live stream is available for our different activities! Look for us on YouTube under Neural Matrix Entertainment!

Hey all - The wonderful Music by Jasper George has donated a bunch of free-to-use songs, music types and loops exclusively for participants in this jam! Check them out here, and be sure to visit his website to learn more about his music and tell him thanks for the kind support!

The P300 Unity Tool is now available to download! Download it, test it, break it and send us feedback letting us know what is working and what isn't. This is just our first version, so please be patient as bugs are likely going to happen. Be sure to take a moment to look at the associated README too!

Check out our introduction videos now available for more information on the jam! These include learning more about BCI, a brief  overview of the P300, and a more detailed  look at the BCI Game Jam and its goals!

We want to know more about you! Take our survey to help us learn all about the awesome participants in this jam!

Don't forget to join us on Discord for discussions throughout the weekend!

Goal of the jam:

This game jam is motivated by the hundreds of children who, until recently, may never have been able to play a video game before. As BCI technology grows and matures it will continue to enhance the lives of children (and adults) who have lost significant motor functions. This game jam aims to push the available experiences offered by BCI to new levels for these individuals. We all cannot wait to enjoy the wide variety of gaming experiences you will create!


Our Theme:

Accessibility in gaming. In particular- integrating BCI as a control scheme for games. We want this game jam to highlight the importance of considering accessible game design and game play for all players.  


Our present to you:

To help out in making your games BCI-compatible (and so that we aren't adapting/implementing 100s of different approaches) we are providing a Unity asset which exploits the P300 BCI control scheme (see the FAQ below) to all of those participating in the game jam! The tool includes all of the back-end worry taken care of, so you don't have to worry about how Unity will communicate with the BCI system. (We've taken care of that- thanks Shaheed!). All that is required is to include a few components in the game scene and it should be good-to-go. This has been distributed! Take it, break it, and send us all your questions!

If you'd prefer to use another engine - no worries! We don't want to limit your creativity, and instead request that you design your game such that it can be played with a single button input (preferably a key input).


At-a-glance: Requirements for the BCI Game Jam

  1. Your game must either use the provided P300 Unity tool or have a single-button control scheme.
  2. This game jam is focused on providing some great new experiences for children of all ages- so please, keep your games appropriate.
  3. The games will be rated by a panel of children who routinely use BCI devices and our expert judges.
  4. If you are in the Calgary or Edmonton area you can register to attend the local activities of the BCI game jam! These will include food, spaces for collaboration and development, and access to some hands-on time with actual BCI technology
  5. We will be answering questions as best we can throughout the game jam. Tune in to our live chat/stream of the event hosted at the University of Calgary, Canada throughout the weekend!

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FAQ:

The Science Bits

  • What is a brain-computer interface (BCI)?
    • Broadly, brain-computer interfaces are a new and growing technology that allow users to interact with their environment (e.g. a computer) through directly processing their brain patterns. By processing intent and activity from the brain directly, we can bypass neuromuscular limitations and allow people with physical impairments to control and interact with the world around them.  This opens up a huge opportunity for new possibilities for people with physical impairments, with BCI research looking to help in a variety of ways from gaining independent movements to playing video games for the first time!
  • How do BCIs work?
    • There are several different types of BCI, but we are focusing on
      non-invasive BCI which uses electroencephalography (EEG) to read brain patterns. The EEG is recorded from small electrodes (recording pads) placed on the scalp, which reads the electric activity of the brain as it propagates through the skull and skin. We can then elicit well known patterns from the brain and pair that response to a desired action based on our known pattern of brain activity. To elicit these patterns, we can use outside driven stimuli (e.g. flashing lights or changes in the environment), or an internally driven stimuli (e.g. thought patterns such as imaging a movement). Don't worry though- the EEG can only pick up the rough pattern, not what you're actually thinking! That is, we know you are imaging movement, but can't distinguish if you are picturing throwing a baseball or petting your dog (or if you own a dog).
  • What is the P300 event?
    • There are many different ways to control a BCI system. One of the most
      prolific control schemes uses something called the 'oddball paradigm' to elicit a spike in brain activity over the back of the brain (occipital cortex). The oddball paradigm occurs when your brain is focused on something and a sudden, unexpected change occurs. Nearly all brains register this 'oddball' event in the same way, with electrical activity seeing a positive spike in amplitude approximately 300 milliseconds after the unexpected change occurred. Therefore it is named as the positive 300 (P300) event which happens over a known region in the brain in response to a sudden change to what the brain was focused on.
  • How does the P300 Unity tool work?
    • We exploit P300 events the same way many other labs studying BCI do- with a visual flashing of objects on a grid. The user simply needs to focus on a given grid point (cube) in the P300 tool, and when that cube is randomly flashed as brighter we can pick up the P300 event from their EEG activity.
    • However! The P300 doesn't require things to be in a grid, or only use a certain number of points. In fact, it is quite flexible. It can even be elicited just using changes in audio sounds! Therefore, although the provided P300 Unity tool starts off in a 3x3 grid feel free to change it, mold it, shape it and make it work for your game idea. The only thing that matters is that the oddball paradigm is kept intact, e.g. the stimulus is randomly presented.

The Game Jam Bits

  • Why are we doing a game jam focusing on this technology?
    • We are a wide collaboration of game developers, scientists, engineers, and clinicians with an interest in BCI and a passion for improving the lives of children. As many of us are avid gamers ourselves, we see this is a great opportunity to help bring something we love to a new generation through a new technology- BCI. The use of BCI offers a completely unique control scheme which can be used by almost everyone- including those with quadriplegic cerebral palsy or other severe neuromuscular disorders.
  • Who can join the jam?
    • Anyone! We welcome all interested people- game developers, enthusiasts, hobbyists or individuals who are just keen to learn more about BCI and its potential for improving lives.

The Other Bits

  • Did Elon Musk invent BCIs?
    • Nope! This research has been going for over a decade with pretty significant strides happening in the last 5 years. Elon & crew are making great waves though, and helping raise the awareness of what this technology could help do!
  • Will you be able to read my mind?
    • Not at all! Don't worry, we are only 'reading your mind' in so far as being able to tell that some specific neurological event happened. We don't have specific details about that event, we just look at the physiological response elicited by your brain's electric activity changing. Think of it the same way that a mood ring can 'read emotion'- it is just inferring from some physiological response (cold/hot hands), but has no actual insight into the complex infrastructure of emotion.

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Check Out These Other BCI Activities!

Interested in more BCI Activities? Check these out!

Sponsors, Partners, Supporters and Acknowledgements

We want to thank the various groups, partners and companies who are helping make the BCI Game Jam happen!

Thank you to the children, parents and families who continue to give their time, energy and input to make events like the BCI Game Jam possible and worthwhile.

Also, thank you to our wonderful sponsors and partners:

Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program, the Alberta Children's Hospital, Alberta Health Services and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary Faculty of Science, Schulich School of Engineering, VRKade (Calgary, CA), Insert-Coin (Zurich, CH)



Cover Image created and donated by: Sabrina Kaufman, freelance graphic designer

Background Image adapted from and provided by: "Tesseract: Game System" by Ryan Pedersen is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 and "Bicycle Minimun Spanning Tree" by ewedistrict is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Associated Promotional Flyer Image provided by: "Tesseract: Game System" by Ryan Pedersen is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Associated Promotional Flyer Brain Image provided by: "Bicycle Minimun Spanning Tree" by ewedistrict is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 


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