How about a headset which zaps your brain to give your gaming skills a boost? This is exactly what’s startup company Foc.us is supposedly doing and its first product is about to hit the market in a matter of weeks.
Avid gamers will do anything to gain the advantage over their adversaries. Foc.us is basing its product on just that understanding, offering a special headset which uses Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) – a low-level electrical current which is directed specifically at the prefrontal cortex of the brain. -
tDCS has been used in the past totreat prevent migraines, chronic pain and lab tests showed improvement with patients suffering from depression. Researchers have also been exploring other areas where tDCS can help users including math skills and other cognitive tasks. Developer Michael Oxley also mentioned that: “Stimulating the prefrontal cortex is good for working memory, vigilance and focus, all used when gaming”. -
Foc.us can start and stop using the button at the rear of the headset or from the iPhone app. Turning it on, the headset will run for 10 min before it will automatically shut down. You can change the time between sessions (between 5 and 40 min) using the app.
Currently Foc.us only has a iPhone app but the company does promise that in the future it will promise a version compatible with Android users as well (the headset is based on specific BT 4.0 protocol). -
The headset itself is made out of polypropylene and polycarbonate and the Sponges (on the electrodes) are soaked in a saline and are fitted between the electrodes and the wearer’s skin to prevent burns (users who tested early models did say they felt an almost burn like sensation). You can fit additional electrodes to stimulate other areas of the brain or produce alternate effects (supposedly improving other skills such as motor skills, hand-eye coordination etc.).
It is worth mentioning that . Foc.us specify the headset is not a toy and not recommended for users under 18 years old or to people with epilepsy or implants. It should also not be used in the treatment of any medical conditions (and since its not a medical device it does not have or needs an FDA approval). -
The Foc.us will cost you around 250 dollars and it will be ship this July. -
More information on the headset (as well as the option to preorder one) can be found on the Foc.us website.
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.
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