Neural implants have always been a cyberpunk fiction staple. They either grant the user special abilities or turn them into near cyborgs. We’re not there yet, but for what is worth OCZ is trying to make that future a little less distant (and fictional) with the Neural Impulse Actuator, or NIA for short. It’s a control system that interprets your brain waves and tracks facial muscle tensions into game input, making it possible to control by thought the actions of a virtual gunman during a game of Counterstrike, for instance. The idea behind the concept is to increase reaction time up to 60% by eliminating the time it takes the command from your brain to reach the hand over the mouse. We are about to see if it delivers, but first let’s take a look onto the device itself.

OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator ReviewFigure 1: The NIA system.

The NIA is actually two devices: a black box of brushed aluminum and a headband that captures the user’s brain waves and facial motions and sends those signals to the box, where they’ll be interpreted and sent to the PC by a USB cable. The adjustable headband is made from soft rubber and has three diamond-shaped sensors to be placed above the brow line.

OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator ReviewFigure 2: The actuator box.

OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator ReviewFigure 3: The sensors.


A self-assumed gadget-freak and an avid gamer, André Gordirro has written about pop culture, Internet and technology for the past ten years. He works for SET Magazine, Brazil’s biggest movie magazine, and usually contributes to its technology section writing about consumer products. His body lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – although his mind is said to inhabit cyberspace.