For the last several months, the field of wearable “neuroscience” devices seems to be exploding.
In 2013, at the end of my program at FutureMed (now called Exponential Medicine) , at Singularity University at the Nasa Research Park in Silicon Valley, we had the especial treat to hear about some new technologies coming down the pipes (that program, by the way, is a life changing experience for anyone involved in Healthcare, especially someone with the passion and the dreams of a better future for medicine thru the smart application of exponential technologies. I’m honored and humbled by the invitation to be a part of the faculty for this year’s event in San Diego).
The basic premise is that by reading and displaying your brain’s electrical activity, you can learn to modulate and train it, in order to achieve a more relaxed, calmed state. It has a component of gamification and by the way of visuals ( i.e. a nice beach-shore) you can see and hear a quiet setting vs. a stormy one, depending on how relaxed you are. The more relaxed you become, the more “birds” that will fly around, enjoying the nice sea setting, rewarding you. The more birds you get as bonuses, the better you did.
After seeing a demonstration, I was lucky enough to be one of the early users of this amazing gadget.
Then, a few months ago, I learned about another “neuroscience” device, called “Thync” ( @thync ).
This one does not “read’ your brain electrical activity, but rather affects it, modulates it by micro-electrical impulses, that result in a change of your overall “mood”, from “energized to calmed”, almost as if you were taking an instant shot of espresso vs. a cup of chamomile tea.
I tried it but it was really hard to “feel” the clear sensation that the state of mind had shifted at all (although they say that it can take a few sessions for some people to feel the difference); In general, I have a pretty “relaxed state of mind, and can change it ad lib, so I guess that I’m a difficult subject to study this to begin with.
From my friend Berthalan Meskó, MD ( @Berci ), I learned about PuzzleBox. This company has a device called the PuzzleBox Orbit Helicopter, which is in a few words, NOT a REMOTE-controlled drone, but a MIND-controlled one.
It has an EEG “reader” (NeuroSky MindWave Mobile Headset), similar in a way of concept, to the @ChooseMuse, except that this one allows you to focus your brain waves in order to flight the helicopter. Pretty amazing indeed.
Then I thought, why not use Thync to acquire a calmed mental state, and then measure it via the Muse, trying to be a bit more scientific. So I tried it.
I did a session with Muse for 5 minutes. Then a 5 minute session with Thync/ calm vibes. Then I repeated the Thync session once again and went to Muse once more. The result was fantastic; I was able to somewhat quantify the effects of Thync via the Muse. It was an explosion of birds, a flock of alpfor a long time, along with a feeling of a profound meditative state for almost a minute. I got so excited that I broke the pattern of relaxation, and starting thinking of the possibilities of this two devices to help people with mental disorder and pathologies, from ADHD, PTSD and Autism, to Schizophrenia and Psychosis.
Once again, I believe that the smart application of technology has promising results in healthcare. We are only limited by our creativity and imagination.
Until next time.