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Star Wars, Mattel mind-controlled toys now shipping

Much-hyped telekinesis toys are now hitting stores. But whether they'll levitate up the sales charts this holiday season remains to be seen.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy

Back at CES in January, there was some hype surrounding some new mind-control products that were due to arrive before the holiday season. Well, two of the more prominent ones, the Star Wars The Force Trainer and Mattel's Mindflex are now shipping.

While images of youngsters decked out in full Star Wars regalia, showing off their Jedi-like powers may seem rather amusing, the question remains whether telekinesis toys and games will become the next big thing--or not.

Both products require you to strap on a lightweight headset that contains sensors to measure your brainwave activity. Focus your concentration, and a stream of air causes a ball to levitate. Relax your thoughts and the ball drops.

The $120 Force Trainer is just about making the ball rise in a tube, while the $80 Mattel Mindflex challenges you to guide a ball through a customizable obstacle course (watch CNET's Scott Stein try it out in this video). Now, if someone could just prove all these mental calisthenics help ward off Alzheimer's and dementia, it would really help move some product.

What do you guys think? Is this the future of gaming or just a gimmick? And how long before will it be before we can ditch the video game controllers and just use our thoughts to control everything?

Additional reading: Hot stuff from the 2009 Toy Fair