The Mexican Standoff

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Descripción del proyecto / Description of the project

Everybody can click a mouse or push a button to shoot and kill without wasting any thought. But how does it feel to control that process with your brainwaves? What is the experience like to kill your opponent by merely thinking about killing him hard enough?

The Mexican Standoff Tim Devine - Onur Sonmez

The Mexican Standoff removes the link between the persons thoughts and actions; people are directly thinking about what they are doing – creating a hyper-reality.

Two people use their minds via EEG headsets to fire their guns in a Mexican Standoff realized in an ultra-violent first person shooter (FPS). To trigger the EEG interface the person needs to relax. When this is detected the avatar will begin to shoot the other.

In popular culture, a Mexican Standoff is usually portrayed as two or more opponents with guns at the ready, creating a very tense situation. A Mexican standoff is a slang term defined as a stalemate or impasse, a confrontation that neither side can win.

Documentación (gráficos, fotos y vídeos) / Documentation (graphics, pictures and videos)

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Anders talking to Spanish TV.

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Tim & Sebastian playing.




Tecnologías y herramientas / Technologies and tools


  • 2x Windows XP PCs
  • 2x Bluetooth Dongle
  • 2x Neurosky Mindset
  • Headphones or Speakers


  • Processing
  • Brainwave Visualizer
  • ThinkGear Connector
  • Counter Strike Source

Early hacking attempts with Star Wars Force Trainer




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One of the available headset for the project was Star Wars Force trainer. In the first approach we tried to hack this headset through the serial port, but the data frames did not follow an understandable pattern and we tried to get the signal from the motor using a signal adapter circuit.

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Here you can see the devices and connectors we will use.

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Step 1

At the beginning we could acquire the signal that powers the motor depending on the attention level, but the noise from the motor was annoying and we tried to eliminate it by unplugging the motor. Afterwards, we realized the system was not working because it needed a signal from the spinning sensor that was not coming out because the motor was unplugged

step 2

In this second step we tried to simulate the signal from the spinning sensor by means a PWM output. With this PWM output we try to fake the signal from the spinning sensor. Because when the A connector is removed the system thinks that something is blocking the fan and it stops the motor.

After this second step the system stopped working, the headset was not able to connect to the controller and we do not know why. We placed the connector in its original position and tried to connect but no success.

many thanks to Ramon for his great help.

Equipo de desarrollo / Development Team

Autor/a/es de la propuesta / Author

Colaboradores / Collaborators

    • Jose Ramón Hernández Galán (ES): Electronics
    • Anders Restad (NO): Testing, concept development, support
    • Sebastian Pfaller (DE): Testing, concept development, support