Beyond Moving Cars with Brainwaves -- Transparent Connects EEG Technology to Beneficial Neural Stimulation Treatment

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In a corner of the neurotechnology world that may be unfamiliar to most, new possibilities are arising with a host of implications for the future of mental health.

This real-time customization has the potential to make neural stimulation treatment an even more significant tool in the ongoing struggle for mental health.

Transparent Corporation, a leading developer of mental improvement technology, took major steps last week to merge the benefits and technology from two growing fields of neuroscience research and development. Newly released versions of Transparent’s popular brain stimulation software, Neuro-Programmer and Mind WorkStation, have been integrated with consumer EEG devices, notably the Emotiv EPOC EEG and NeuroSky MindWave. This development represents a tremendous leap forward in the technological sophistication of the industry.

In the last decade, EEG devices- machines that use electrodes to measure brain activity- have escaped from the hospital and undergone an explosive transformation of functionality. In the gaming world, the electrical charges of the mind can be used as a controller, as demonstrated by Mattel’s Mind Flex, where players control the movement of a ball through a maze with an EEG headset. NeuroSky, the same company who developed that headset, recently broke the Guinness world record for “heaviest machine moved using a brain control interface.” This feat was accomplished using the abilities of their MindWave unit to steer a crane and lift a vehicle weighing nearly 62 tons, all by detecting when the wearer of the headset was concentrating. Another EEG device, Emotiv’s EPOC, is being used to create visual art based on cognitive patterns, perform market research and even navigate avatars through virtual worlds.

New developments in the field are adding yet another function to this growing list. Not only can these devices control objects with signals from the mind, but now they can be tools to potentially improve the mind through a non-invasive brain stimulation process. Neural stimulation therapy, also commonly referred to as “brainwave entrainment,” uses deliberately engineered sound or light stimuli to influence the mind in beneficial ways. This unique method had been little-used for 70 years since its discovery. However, it has recently experienced a boom in popularity, with a flurry of start-up companies producing programs and accessories, new research showing its effectiveness and personal computers allowing more possibilities than before. “Brainwave entrainment” is now searched for over 15,000 times a month on Google alone.

With the advent of consumer-level EEG technology, developers have noted an opportunity to exponentially increase the efficacy of this neural stimulation method. EEG devices can be used as a guide for brain stimulation, enhancing the therapy by “driving” the brain towards certain states using brain analysis as a roadmap. During EEG-driven stimulation, incoming data from EEG sensors is used by Transparent’s software to observe the impact of the therapy as it is taking place. The software can then automatically modify and optimize the stimulation based on information coming directly from the brain and body, allowing the therapy to adapt to the wide variety of physiological and psychological differences from person to person.

“Imagine how powerful traditional therapy could be if psychologists knew the precise cognitive effect that their words were having as they spoke” said Adam Hewitt, Lead Developer at Transparent, which is the only organization currently working on this new form of therapy. “This real-time customization has the potential to make neural stimulation treatment an even more significant tool in the ongoing struggle for mental health.”

Transparent Corporation, founded in 2003, is an international collective of researchers, analysts, engineers and enthusiasts brought together by their common interest in brainwave entrainment, biofeedback, psychology and hypnosis. For more information visit http://www.transparentcorp.com/. For more information on research into the benefits of neural stimulation/brainwave entrainment, visit http://www.transparentcorp.com/research/

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Cynthia Trang
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