Think Gum is Sponsoring the 2014 Neurogaming Conference

Here is a summary of what attendees can expect in addition to some free Brain-Boosting Chewing Gum

Neurogaming is still a new area, but it will become massive over the next decade as technology becomes more integrated into all aspects of our lives.  Neurogaming is the use of new technology that makes game play more in tune with our senses.  Some examples are already commonplace like brain-training games that use standard computers or smartphones to help improve memory or concentration.  Others still seem pretty advanced even though they have been around for nearly 5-years, like the use of sensors that use direct neural feedback in the form of brain waves for the creation of more engaging games.  The best example of this sensor based technology is displayed by the Star Wars game that allows you to “use the force” by focusing on objects and make them move with your mind.  As cool as that is, the example creating the biggest buzz this year has got to be Occulus Rift.  This innovative kickstarter-backed virtual reality gaming company was just acquired by Facebook for billions to gain access to what is the most sophisticated VR platform around.  Their platform basically opens the door to a holodeck like gaming experience where you will actually feel like you are in a different environment.  The headset moves the “screen” when you move you head or look around giving you a 360 degree look from within a game.

We are happy to sponsor this group of futurists, gamers, hackers and neurosciences at the 2014 Neurogaming Conference which will be held at the Metreon on May 7th-8th in San Francisco.  Tickets are still available and they have a great line-up of speakers including Palmer Lucky the founder of Oculus VR the makers of Oculus Rift.  Happy chewing neurogaming developers!  We’d love to work directly with any of this innovative companies so don’t be shy about reaching out.

 

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Does Brain Training Work?

Does Brain Training Help?
Does Brain Training Help?

There is an interesting article in The Economist this week about brain training software like Lumosity and Neurosky.  I feel like I have some perspective on both products, having presented at the “Cool Products Expo” with Neurosky multiple times and having received my PhD from Stanford, unlike the Lumosity cofounder who dropped out halfway through 🙂

For those unfamiliar, both companies attempt to improve cognitive performance using technology, but do so in vastly different ways.  Lumosity uses online games to improve performance with matching games (like the old-school memory card game), speed games and some basic math games.  They figure that doing these games will keep your mind sharp, kind of like doing a daily crossword puzzle.  Neurosky is much more innovative, using brain wave sensing technology to “train your brain”.  They sell a headband that basically tells if you’re in a focused or relaxed state and then give you direct feedback.  I’m not sure if it’s really meant to improve real life performance, but using “The Force” in their Starwars game by concentrating on rock to make it explode is really cool!

Both companies have been very successful and with the current market for brain training estimated at $1 billion, there are a lot of reasons to pay attention.  The big question is do these systems work.  While your score might be improving on the “memory matrix” game, does this translate into having better memory for names at a party?  The jury is still out.

My opinion is that brain-training probably helps a little bit.  Maybe not on the scale seen with Think Gum, where a greater than 25% increase in memory was seen in a real world situation, but a little bit.  I’d be very curious to test people chewing Think Gum using both modalities and see if the Think Gum chewers out perform their peers.