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December 9, 2009

The Hottest Christmas Present This Year is an EEG-based Game from Mattell

By Rob Kall

the Wall Street journal reports that the hot game this holiday season is just about sold out, and it's based on EEG. This should be GOOD for the profession of bio/neurofeedback


Today's Wall Street Journal talks about the hottest toy on the market, for Christmas this year, is one that use EEG!!

And there are more out there or coming soon that use biofeedback. Finally, major companies have tapped into the low cost technologies that now enable games to be designed which use psychophysiology.

The Wall Street Journal article focuses on Mindflex, from Mattell and reports that the games are just about sold out, that parents are paying $50 over the $80 retail price.

Mindflex, from Mattell

The mindflex game has you use your brain to move a ball through a maze of hoops, kind of like mousetrap with fans. The mindflex site describes how it "uses your brainwave intensity to move the ball:
"Whenever you concentrate, you generate brainwave activity. Mindflex uses a variation of EEG technology to "read" the intensity of these brainwaves via sensors positioned on your forehead and ears. These sensors do not generate or interfere with brainwaves; they only read what is already there.

Once the Mindflex headset recognizes your brainwaves, it transmits a signal to a fan within the console. This fan controls ball levitation. Your brainwaves, in turn, control the power of the fan. The more effectively you concentrate, the stronger the fan blows and the higher the ball floats. Relaxing your mind relaxes the fan's airflow, which lowers the ball."
Then, the site explains how to move the ball:

raising the ball (high concentration)
The higher your concentration, the higher the ball will float.

lowering the ball (low concentration)
By relaxing your concentration, the ball will descend

Other companies are also bringing out games that link to the brain or other physiologies.

One company fueling this new market, is Neurosky, which describes itself, on its ABOUT page, as, "a leading biosensor company, making Brain-Computer Interface technologies available to developers across a wide range of industries. Our technological advancements add a new dimension for users to interact with their world by enabling developers to breathe new life into mature products or create new products where the mind is the only limit."

This has to be good for the professional field of biofeedback and neurofeedback. The buzz will make more people aware of the mind/body/brain connection and open them to taking the next step when they need help.

Practitioners may even want to purchase some of these games for waiting rooms.

Bio/neurofeedback has a long history-- at least 50 years-- and this is one more interesting stretch of the journey.

Authors Bio:

One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them.
I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in Positive Psychology as well as being involved in the field of biofeedback/neurofeedback since 1972.
see my more detailed bio, reflecting my work in biofeedback, here.

In 2003 I founded , where I've written over 1800 articles and have published over 100,000 other people's writings, with the goal of raising people's consciousness in political and activist ways.