Saturday, November 29, 2014

Muse: the brain sensing headband.

Interaxon from Canada recently announced the launch of a new EEG reading device: MUSE (version 2). As the old version, it measures the electric activity produced by the brain searching for behavior patterns and identifying states of mind. Basically uses alpha waves (8-12Hz) to find if the person is calm and focused or when is wandering.

Muse is the mental equivalent of a treadmill, which helps you exercise your brain with focused attention training. It improves your attention by training you to become aware of your distractions quicker and react faster to regain focus on what you’re doing.

Connected to a Smartphone it will process the signals in real-time alerting you if get distracted and helping you catch to regain focus increasing the productive in your activity.

According to the company, the main advantages that this product offers are:

It motivates you to change your brain
Studies show that the focused-attention and mindfulness exercises upon which Muse is based can cause the brain to change itself, making it more resistant to distractions. Muse makes this process more motivating, fun and efficient.

It improves how you respond to stress
In the short-term, this training has been shown to trigger the natural relaxation response – a state of deep rest that changes the physiological and emotional responses to stress. Your metabolism decreases and your heartbeat slows. The muscles relax, breathing becomes slower, and blood pressure decreases.

It gives you a lasting feeling of self-control
Stress is thought of as a perceived lack of control or unpredictability, associated with impaired cognitive performance, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, and many more negative effects. 

It can improve your emotional state
We often think of distraction as something external, like the sound of a nearby conversation. However, Muse’s feedback algorithms are tailored to respond to both external and internal distractions.

Extended use can have amazing and lasting results
A study showed that 20 minutes of focused attention training for 3 days in a row has been shown to reduce pain, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and reduce heart rate. 

It is designed to help you form the habit
Research has shown using an app and starting with 3-5 minutes can dramatically help you with mental exercises like meditation. Muse starts you with 3 minute sessions and rewards you for your achievements, making sure it’s easy and motivating to train with Muse.

Waitting to receive posts from people who have tested this new MUSE.

The Future of Brain/Neural Computer Interaction: Horizon 2020

The European Commission's Framework Programme 7 as created a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) called BNCI Horizon 2020. This project aims to foster communication and collaboration among stakeholders in the field of BCIs.

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have become a popular topic for research in recent years. A BCI is a communication device which allows people to control applications through direct measures of their brain activity. A BNCI (brain/neuronal computer interaction) system extends a BCI by including other physiological measures such as muscle or eye movement signals. 

The number of BCI research groups around the world, peer-reviewed journal articles, conference abstracts, and attendance at relevant conferences are indicators of the rapid growth of this field. With dozens of companies and research groups actively participating in the development of BCIs and related technologies, collaboration, a common terminology, and a clear roadmap have become important topics.

For more informations visit the Horizon 2020 Web page.

Friday, November 28, 2014

3rd International Winter Workshop on Brain-Computer Interfaces

From 12 until 14 January, 2015, at Seoul - Korea, will be held the conference 3rd International Winter Workshop on Brain-Computer Interfaces.

Different approaches to Brain-Computer Interfaces have been developed, each one with specific solutions that range from understanding and explaining cognitive functions over communicating with real and virtual environments by thought alone to real-time monitoring of cognitive states. 
The 3rd International Winter Conference on Brain-Computer Interface aims to encourage overview, in-depth talks and discussions on the latest research at all levels of BCI research. 
Its devotion includes:

  • invasive recording, 
  • semi-invasive ECoG, 
  • non-invasive EEG, 
  • non-invasive NIRS and fMRI measurement and 
  • potential combinations of the different methods furthermore advances in data analysis. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Path to Happiness - Peace or Pleasure?

Next December 4th, Champalimaud Center of the Unknown will discuss what bring us happiness. Dr. Morten Kringelbach and Scott Rennie will talk about meditative practices and their impact on how the brain works.

Is it the pleasure of good wine or great sex? 
The lasting pleasure of helping people in need? 
Or perhaps it is simply the quiet moments free from stress when we are truly relaxed? 

A very interesting event to assist!  I will be there!  :-)