The picture above caught my attention, and I assume it’s grabbing yours. No, it’s not from a new line of 2011 DEVO headwear, nor is it a robotic metal spider frozen in mid-reach around your head, poised–as soon as you don the headset–to devour your brain.
It’s actually a wireless head-gizmo dubbed the “Mynd,” designed by multinational marketing firm NeuroFocus “to capture brainwave activity across the full brain.” The company claims the product marries “medical-grade” tech with a lightweight, mobile design, and interfaces with multiple data-capture platforms, including the iPad and iPhone.
How’s it do that? Using “high-density arrays of medical grade EEG sensors,” says NeuroFocus, adding that each of those sensors can gauge brainwave activity at 2,000 times a second.
Pretty impressive, but here’s the kicker: It’s part of the company’s push, as a commercial entity, to drive something called “neuromarketing.” Think Coke vs. Pepsi, but using brain scans to gauge preferences instead of verbal grades or feedback forms. The idea’s to apply brain science to marketing know-how and come away with data that’s less biased and more broadly revealing.
It sounds gimmicky, but Scientific American ran a story in December on the efficacy of brain scans in the courtroom and noted the research was “increasing our basic understanding of the human brain and offering hope for medical breakthroughs.”
That article’s conclusion, however, was appropriately skeptical given the state of brain scan technology today. While we’re making advances, leaps and bounds, there’s still considerable disagreement over what the results of the scans actually mean. What’s more, the article’s author cautions against buying wholesale what some are prematurely claiming the technology can do.
Like NeuroFocus? It’s impossible to say without testing the Mynd. Let’s hope someone qualified to does, and soon.
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