"Control, control. You must learn control."
Yoda was right. But if you want to hone your Jedi chops without lifting X-wings out of a swamp, try duking it out with Mattel's head-to-head telekinesis game.
Players don headsets equipped with EEG-like forehead sensors that measure brainwaves, and face off above a ball hovering on a stream of air. The harder they concentrate, the more each player can push the ball across the board to the opponent's end, winning the round.
The original Mindflex is a solo game that comes with five obstacle courses to push the ball through. The sensors on the headset control fans in the unit that levitate the ball higher or lower.
While you're still not directly controlling the ball in Mindflex Duel (you're controlling the fan power), the competitive aspect makes it more thrilling.
I tried it out at CES 2011, going up against a guy who initially had problems getting the sensors to read his brainwaves, which made us wait while it tried to get a signal. Meanwhile, his head looked, well, relatively small. I had this one in the bag.
"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size do you?"
I should have listened to Yoda. The guy kicked my brain's butt.
It was really tough to get a sense of the connection between concentrating and moving the ball to his side of the board. I thought the whole thing might be a crock (apparently, Germany's Der Spiegel was also dubious), but Mattel says it's real EEG science.
I kept tensing my jaw muscles to move that ball, but to no avail. My opponent easily pushed it over to my side. His was the superior brain.
OK, so my only hope of summoning a lightsaber while glued to a Wampa's cave is to buy the $99.99 Mindflex Duel when it comes out in August. It's now on preorder on Amazon.
It comes with two headsets and a bunch of hoops and hurdles so you can design your own obstacles and play against or with opponents. Challenges include games like Basketblaster, in which players shoot as many baskets as they can in a given time.
Will future versions include Fooling Stormtroopers and Choking Imperial Naysayers challenges? One can only hope.