How does the Mindwave work?
The NeuroSky Mindwave uses EEG technology to safely measure brainwave signals and monitor attention levels. Its comfortable, lightweight headset uses only 1 AAA battery and features two passive sensors: one rests against the player's forehead via an adjustable arm, and one clips gently onto the player's left earlobe. EEG readings are then sent to your computer using Bluetooth wireless technology. (If your computer is not Bluetooth enabled, you may need to purchase a Bluetooth adapter for about $15.)
Can the Mindwave read my thoughts?
We knew you were going to ask that! But the answer is No. The Mindwave device works like an EEG machine, which is able to read the amount and intensity of electrical activity of your brain. It can record the state of your mind, such as "focused" versus "relaxed", but it does not and cannot read the content of your thoughts. (No such thought-reading technology exists... or does it?)
What is EEG? An electroencephalogram (EEG) device records the electrical activity of your brain through sensors placed externally upon the skin of the scalp and face. The first human EEG was recorded in 1924 by Hans Berger, and his invention has been described as "one of the most surprising, remarkable, and momentous developments in the history of clinical neurology." Since then, EEG technology has been used daily in hospitals to monitor anesthesia levels for surgery, to diagnose seizures, to rate the depth of coma and to declare a person clinically brain dead. The Mindwave device, however, is for entertainment purposes, and therefore if your brainwave reading flatlines, you are probably NOT brain dead. We suggest that you reposition your sensors or reboot the device, rather than execute your last will and testament.
What are brainwaves?
The electrical energy emitted by the neurons within our brains creates oscillations (rhythmic patterns) that can be grouped according to how many cycles per second are completed. One cycle per second is measured as 1 hertz (Hz). Brainwave oscillations in the range of 7.5-12.5Hz are known as Alpha waves and denote wakeful relaxation, while Beta wave (16-31Hz) and Gamma wave (32-100Hz) can signal focused concentration. Theta waves (4-7 Hz) and Delta waves (0.1 - 3 Hz) are seen during light and deep sleep, respectively.
Can I control my brainwaves?
Through the practice of meditation and focused concentration you can learn to control your brainwaves to a certain extent. NeuroSky's Mindwave and the NeuroMage game provide you with tangible biofeedback to assist in this training. Some people find that they can achieve a high score on the "Attention" scale by mentally reciting multiplication tables or the lyrics to a song. "Meditation" scores can be raised by closing the eyes, breathing slowly and deeply, or simply letting the mind wander. You may find certain techniques work better than other ones. Don't give up if at first you don't succeed. Meditation is a practice.