Brain Training for Athletic Acceleration
Client: Neurotopia Brain Sensor
Neuro-sensors are becoming widely used for direct brain control of wheel chairs and other devices. And, the advancement of “Brain Training” has become a hot topic for high performance athletes and others who seek to reach their next level of performance by managing their focus and performance through "Brain Training". We were challenged by our client, an established leader in brain training to create a more universal technology that no longer required the application of a conductive gel onto sensors to capture the brain waves. This so that from athlete to an executive, they could use the technology to focus their brain immediately prior to an event by simply slipping the gear on, without any goopy mess, time and problems associated with “wet” sensors.
Connecting to the Brain's Signal
We studied existing brain sensing technologies which requires application of conductive gels, the challenges, the variations in hair types, shapes, skull sizes and shapes, initially presented us with a daunting task. Combining technology and user insights with defining the benefits of multiple dry sensing locations , our challenge was made even more daunting. Low fidelity prototypes were developed and rapidly iterated by testing them connected to lap top reading the brain signal levels. As development progressed our testing indicated that we would require increasing numbers of pins and locations. At the same time, we identified that the sensors would have to adapt to the different head shapes, which are as varied as imaginable. Then, to gather enough signal for the information to be valuable, we also need to get through the first layers of the skin (the dander); simply being on top of the skin wasn’t enough of an electrical connection. That ultimately led is to developing a senor pod that consists of 20 individually actuated pins with tips that broke the dead layers of dander while not causing pain to the athlete.Human Factors testing revealed their own set of challenges; eliminating any "pinch" on the scalp, providing comfort while being able to move around without loosing connection, and providing a sense of aesthetics that feel empowering.
Comfort, Consistency and Data
Each pin then connects to a common conductive carbon pad and sends the signal off to the processing hub located at the base of the spine. The sensors are snapped into a specially designed Lycra skull cap that applies uniform pressure to all the variations of heads and hair, with few exceptions. The net result is technology that can be slipped on anywhere to fuel interactive software that uses visual exercise , sound and motion to create highly focused athletes and executives who increase their performance to newer and higher levels.