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SubscriptionsGo to the Subscriptions Centre to manage your:My ProfileThe designers of Halo Sport, a headband they claim can improve athletic performance by shocking the brain, say their device could one day also help improve memory, foreign language acquisition, even math skills. Ski and Snowboard Association, is now being offered to consumers.A presale sold out so quickly, the company says it has had to temporarily stop sales because of supply issues.”We’re really unlocking potential. We’re not really changing anything fundamental of the human itself, we’re just trying to get the most out of people.” said Dr. Daniel Chao, Halo Neuroscience CEO and co founder.But a Canadian expert says those claims haven’t been proven, and with no long term studies on the health effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), selling such a device to consumers is “irresponsible.””To me it almost equivalent to giving you an experimental drug over the counter and saying ‘just go with it, have fun’ because it seems to be producing interesting effects that you might enjoy,” said Gunnar Blohm, an associate professor at Queen’s University’s School of Medicine.Queen’s University Prof. Gunnar Blohm uses tDCS for his research into the brain’s sensory motor processing. (CBC)Halo Sport looks very much like a high end set of headphones (picture Beats by Dre or Bose). But between the earphones, on the inside of the headband, is a series of electrodes that Halo calls primers.”You just put it on like a regular set of headphones. We’ve engineered it so our primers go right over the part of your brain the special part of your brain that’s called the motor cortex,” said Chao.”The motor cortex is responsible for movement. So with any sort of movement training, what Halo Sport does, is it accelerates those results from any sort of movement training.”Halo’s primers send an electrical charge through the skull into that section of the brain. For a typical user, the charge will be less than 10 volts, a pulse of energy the company says will often go unnoticed or feel like a light tingle.Made athletes stronger, faster?From that small current, Halo’s co founder says it is achieving some significant results.”We worked with a group of college athletes,” said Chao, “And we were able to get about 12 per cent gains in leg strength over a two week period of time versus 1.7 per cent in a control group. So this is really exciting for us.”Those gains, Chao says, were the result of a process he calls neuropriming, stimulating a section of the brain which he says makes it more receptive to training cues.”The brain essentially becomes stickier to the repetition that you’re feeding it.” Chao says.Chao and his Halo co founder Brett Wingeier are among a growing number of scientists and entrepreneurs focusing on the rapidly expanding brain fitness market.
beats headphones earbuds zapping devices have shocking potential