Electronics & Computers

Technology Reads and Reacts to Brainwaves

January 10, 2012

Freer Logic's BodyWave sensor reads brain activity through the body and can monitor levels of attention, cognitive processing, relaxation, anxiety, or stress, as well as provide interactive control of computers or machinery.

ASHEVILLE, NC /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine small armband sensors that allow the user to control a computer with his/her mind, determine if he/she is being inattentive or distracted while driving, or indicate exactly when to swing a golf club for optimum performance and results. A wearable technology called BodyWave from Freer Logic does just that and is now available for applications in many different situations and industries.

BodyWave reads brain activity through the human body, not by intrusive headsets and wires like technologies of the past, but via a uniquely innovative brainwave monitor that attaches to the arm or leg. In the past, brainwave-monitoring devices required awkward or invasive attachment to the head. BodyWave's patent-pending design monitors the brain's physiologic signal through the body. Dry sensors acquire brain signals and transfer them wirelessly to a PC. When BodyWave is used with Freer Logic's 3D computer simulations, it can activate and deactivate those computer simulations by mind alone. It can also teach stress control, increase attention, and facilitate peak performance.

How Does BodyWave Work?
BodyWave monitors brain activity through the body instead of the head. It can monitor levels of attention, cognitive processing, relaxation, or anxiety and stress. This brain activity is transferred from BodyWave to the PC, where it can be used to control 3D simulations or field operations on screen. Through BodyWave, the user can only activate the PC simulation by actively engaging in the program. This means maximizing his/her attentive state while minimizing anxiety and stress. As the user begins to pay attention, the barometer reading goes up. If distracted or anxious, the bar goes down, giving direct feedback about the cognitive and physiologic state of the user. When a peak performance state is achieved, as indicated on the screen, the user can activate the training environment. Loss of this fully engaged cognitive state will deactivate the simulation until full concentration is achieved once again.

Avatars within the program can act as teachers to provide instruction or as a surrogate student to participate in lessons or simulations. Avatars, machines, or even control panels themselves can be controlled by BodyWave input. For example, when the user clicks on the avatar, he/she can use his/her attention or peak mental engagement to make the avatar walk to the control panel. If the user becomes distracted or anxious, he/she can no longer control the avatar and he stops.

Training is initiated in a low-distraction, nonthreatening environment. Because the trainee can see his/her mental or physiologic state in real time, training environments can progressively introduce greater states of distraction, stress, or duress that are typically experienced in the field. The trainee thus learns to act in a peak performance state even under duress.

Just a Few Applications for BodyWave:

  • Sports training—For example, BodyWave will tell you exactly when you've reached a peak performance state to sink a putt.
  • Driving Safety—A steering wheel could send information to a car's computer to warn a driver when he/she is not paying attention.
  • Job Stress Management—For example:
    • An air traffic controller could know exactly when his/her stress level is too high.
    • Police officers, soldiers, or firefighters could train to maintain optimal performance under duress.
  • Relaxation Time—BodyWave connected to a cell phone allows anyone to learn to meditate or relax.

Freer Logic & Technologies CEO Peter Freer has helped ADHD kids for years with his Play Attention technology that used a sensor-lined helmet to access brain activity. Although effective, at times it proved invasive and inconvenient. "By producing this new advanced technology, we have opened the brain interface market to the mass consumer market," Freer says.

In the near future, BodyWave's patent-pending technology will be able to collect brain activity through a wristwatch of sorts or implanted in a soldier's clothes so that his/her mental acuity readings could be reported back to the commander.

The BodyWave system can be purchased for general cognitive enhancement use for $1795 online and includes the BodyWave unit and full training and access to the PC applications.

Freer Logic can also adapt the BodyWave system in app form for any specific industry or application for an additional cost.

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