Inspiration

Pinterest Board

Our collective pins embody the idea of a utopian future where we look at emerging innovations and beautiful objects as inspirations. To instigate the prototyping stage we:

  • looked at different ways to integrate seamless technology on our body
  • discovered newly introduced nano technologies
  • explored avant garde aesthetics
  • speculated silly Japanese inventions

Film and Pop Culture

Limitless, 2011 Synopsis: With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers. (IMDB)
Lucy, 2014 Synopsis: Lucy, is about a young woman whose brain becomes powerful enough to see the world as it really is. The plot has been inspired by the old myth that human beings use only 10 per cent of their potential brainpower – which, like all myths, speaks to deeper fears about the universe and our dispensable role within it. (Colin, R., 2014, The Telegraph)

Existing Technologies

Thync

Thync

Thync, is a new brain-altering wearable technology that provides the promise to “shift your state of mind and conquer life” by allowing its users to alter their moods at any point in time.

Using neurosignaling science, it induces on-demand shifts in energy, calm, or focus. Thync’s technology involves calculated stimulation applied through electricity, via contact electrodes placed along the orbital ridge and the base of the neck, of cranial nerves.

The idea of a device which allows us to keep us in a positive and confident state, free from doubts and fears, is very appealing. But this brings us to question what a world would be like where we all wear these little headbands that would give us energy and focus look like?

We may find that this is a logical next step after smartphones in communication. What if people could send emoji feelings directly to another device? You could “feel” the sarcasm of a text message.

Thync’s cofounders, CEO Isy Goldwasser explains: “We can come up with a lot of scenarios, but we guide all our research by the goal of building products that allow people to do something positive for themselves. If it’s useful and beneficial, we develop it. If it’s unethical or dangerous, we don’t. You want to get focused, sleep more, socialize better, destress in a safe way? We’re here to help. If there’s a grey zone, we won’t go there”.

Thync

Related Readings

BBC, Neurohacks, Future, <http://www.bbc.com/future/columns/neurohacks>.
Brinson, S., 2014, ‘Hacking your brain waves: wearable meditation headsets’, DIYGenious, 23 December, <http://www.diygenius.com/hacking-your-brain-waves/>.
Moore, A., 2014, ‘Thync’, Protein, <https://www.prote.in/en/feed/2015/01/thync>.
Smith, G. J., 2014, ‘Technology gets personal at FITC wearables,’ Creative Applications Network, 20 December, <http://www.creativeapplications.net/events/technology-gets-personal-at-fitc-wearables/>.
Yang, J., 2012, ‘I tried a brain altering wearable that allows users to change their mood on demand’, Quartz, 12 January,<http://qz.com/325070/this-brain-altering-wearable-could-end-our-dependence-on-drugs/>.

Muse
Muse: Brain - Computer Interface

‘Brain-sensing headband called Muse. Created by a Toronto-based company called InteraXon, the headband is outfitted with sensors to measure and track your brain activity, and works with an accompanying mobile app called Calm to train your mind to be more focused and calm. There’s also a gamification element to the app that’s meant to motivate you. It’s sort of like a Fitbit for your brain.”  (Cha, 2014)

Cha, B., 2014, Muse Headband Review: A Fitbit for your brain, 6 Novermber, <http://recode.net/2014/11/06/muse-headband-review-a-fitbit-for-your-brain/>.

Muse is based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which measures electrical activity in your brain. Typically, an EEG test requires attaching sensors to your head; the sensors are connected to a computer via wires. But there are no wires involved with Muse. In a similar way that heart monitors can measure your heartbeat, Muse says it can do so with brain activity.

Trans-cranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
Radiolab – 9-Volt-Nirvana

Getting a battery-assisted brain upgrade during sniper training. Image: Sally Adee

At DARPA – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – they have looked into the ways to speed up learning with trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), in which they hook you up to what’s essentially a 9-volt battery and let the current flow through your brain. It is an interesting look into how researchers are using neuro-feedback and electrical brain stimulation to accelerate learning.

Related Readings

Adee, S., 2012, ‘Better living through electrochemistry’, The last word on nothing, 9 February,<http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2012/02/09/better-living-through-electrochemistry/>.
Reddit, tDCS Subreddit, <https://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS>.
9-Volt-Nirvana, 2014, audio podcast, Radiolab, WNYC, 26 June, <https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/382924>.

Security and Brain Hacking

WiredScience writes: Hackers who commandeer your computer are bad enough. Now scientists worry that someday, they’ll try to take over your brain. In the past year, researchers have developed technology that makes it possible to use thoughts to operate a computer, manoeuvre a wheelchair or even use Twitter — all without lifting a finger. But as neural devices become more complicated — and go wireless — some scientists say the risks of “brain hacking” should be taken seriously.

Leggett, H., 2009, ‘The next hacking frontier: your brain’, Wired, 9 July, <http://www.wired.com/2009/07/neurosecurity/>.

Related Readings

The Economist, 2015, ‘This is how to DIY hack your brain using a bundle of electronics,’ Business Insider Australia, 9 March, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/people-are-electrifying-their-brains-heres-why-2015-3>.

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