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Pong players

Matthew Emanuel is fitted with an EEG headset to play Pong,

Look, ma! No hands! Neuroscience students play pong using brain activity

While the rest of the country was immersed in March Madness basketball tournaments, students in course instructor Chelsea McCoy’s School of Neuroscience 2036 class took part in a different sport — the classic Atari game, Pong.

But no knobs were to be found.

Students instead played each other by moving pixel-created paddles to bounce a ball using only their brain activity, captured through Cognionics dry electrode EEG headsets. The brain-computer interface came courtesy of faculty members Ian Kimbrough and Sujith Vijayan, working with master students Naresh Nagabushan and Abhinuv Nitin Pitale from the College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Vijayan said the process of controlling the game paddles is part of the growing technology that allows amputees to control and move next-generation prosthetics. Kimbrough, Vijayan, and McCoy plan to bring the setup back next year for Neuroscience students in the class. (Above Matthew Emanuel, now a rising senior from Woodbridge, Virginia, is fitted with an EEG headset to play Pong, using only his brain activity. Emanuel is majoring in experimental neuroscience.)

Maybe next year, Galaxia can be played, no hands?