As the holidays approach, so does the spirit of gift giving. With ADHD diagnoses in adults on the rise, gifting your loved one a device to combat distraction could be more useful now than ever.
Neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback, is a non-invasive, non-drug way to change the way your brain functions and help improve focus. It has a long use history as a trusted tool for clinicians treating many neurological disorders including ADHD, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.
Neurofeedback devices measure brain activity in combination with a wide variety of physiological signals simultaneously. Many use a software program in conjunction with measurements to interpret your brain wave activity, along with a feedback system to alert the user to results.
To add to your holiday gift guides, we’ve put together this list of neurofeedback device offerings as potential presents for your nearest and dearest.
Sensors in the Narbis glasses and a NASA patented algorithm track how distracted you are.Narbis
1. Narbis Smart Glasses
Narbis’ neurofeedback smart glasses can help your brain practice behaviors to overcome distraction. The glasses use NASA-patented technology to measure brain patterns, and sensors to track how relaxed, distracted, and focused you are. When distracted, the glasses change tint and when you refocus and are concentrating, they instantly clear.
The smart glasses help identify these behaviors which encourages you to shift into a relaxed and attentive state. With two or three 20-minute sessions a week, Narbis users can learn how it feels to pay attention during tasks that require focus.
Moreover, Narbis allows users to access neurofeedback completely within the comfort of their own home. What really sets Narbis apart is that it can be used in real-life, during activities when attention matters most. Unlike other devices, this also answers the question of how skills learned during the training transfer into real-life. A Narbis training is completed while doing activities like homework or reading, or playing video games — unlike other technologies on the market which require you to set aside extra time for training as a separate, dedicated activity.
2. Muse headbands
Muse offers a number of brain-sensing headbands that measure EEG (brain waves). The tools can be used while you meditate to measure when your mind is calm or active, and translate that data into weather sounds — a more relaxed state of being will be represented through the sound of tweeting birds, and higher amounts of brain activity is represented by storm sounds.
According to Muse, the Neurofeedback technology can train you to help your brain achieve a calm, yet, active state, though it is designed to be used with eyes closed while meditating and can’t be used while doing other activities.
Muse translates your brainwaves into sounds of weatherMuse
3. The Mendi headband
The Mendi headband is a neurofeedback system fitted with non-intrusive sensors — when worn the sensors measure your oxygenated blood flow and neural activity. The headset emits an infrared light that monitors activity in the front of your brain, working in conjunction with an app that provides games and exercises to train your brain.
While the headset measures your progress as you play, the software stimulates your brain and delivers visible results on the screen.
Versus is a neurofeedback headset with five sensors which measure the brain’s electrical activity and deliver user data to create games and exercises intended to help with focus and attention.
The Versus experience also includes a NeuroPerformance Assessment, or NPA, which is used to assess each user’s brain performance, develop personalized exercise recommendations, and create a benchmark for improvement. The NPA determines each user’s strengths and weaknesses in mental acuity, concentration, multi-tasking, decision-making, and sleep tendencies.
Myneurva’s neurofeedback system allows individuals to take an EEG or the brain and receive a Brain Electrical Analysis & Mapping (BEAM) report with conclusions based on Myneurva’s trained professionals.
The system consists of an electrode cap, which requires application of gel to the scalp before use, which can be messy and uncomfortable — especially for people prone to sensory overload.
6. Neurosky’s Mindwave Mobile 2 EEG headset
Neurosky’s Mindwave Mobile 2 EEG headset uses software to help you increase your concentration and attention in learning processes with real-time recording. The headset uses EEG biosensor technology to measure your brain waves while using one of Mindwave’s applications — which include gaming, wellness and education apps — to provide a user with feedback on a mobile device.
Sens.ai is a neurofeedback headset that uses sensors to read your brain and heart signals while working alongside an application which has software to translate these into light stimulation boosts and audiovisual cues.
When utilizing the device, a user will hear “reward” sounds through Sens.ai headphones and see “reward” visuals on the app.
8. Hapbee band
The Hapbee wearable band uses technology to record the energy released during a chemical reaction, and play its frequency back to you — giving your body the experience of it. More specifically, the system uses Hapbee’s proprietary ultra-low radio frequency energy technology that emulates specific magnetic fields to produce feelings like happiness, focus, alertness, etc. The band then generates these sensations by delivering precise electromagnetic signals to the user.
A user wearing the band chooses a sensation by activating an application which allows them to pick from settings like “deep sleep” or “power nap.”
The Hapbee wearable band uses technology to record the energy released during a chemical reaction, and play its frequency back to youHapbee
Mightier is, while not a neurofeedback “device” per se, a heart rate biofeedback game designed to help kids manage and navigate emotions. This technology can help kids who have a tough time with tantrums, anger, aggression, irritability, feelings of frustration, ADHD or other disorders, according to the company website.
Food for thought:
According to Harvard-trained neurobiologist Tedi Asher, an important premise of neurofeedback training is that our brains have the ability to change the way they function. This is known as neuroplasticity. Research over the last several decades indicates that our brains are, in fact, malleable. The question, then, is how to influence brain function to stimulate this change.
The trick to getting our brains to act in desirable ways is to leverage the behavior-changing power of operant conditioning, Asher explains in Harvard’s ‘Science in the News’. Akin to how dogs learn to sit when given a treat, humans learn in very similar ways, including teaching ourselves to promote healthier brain activity.
In neurofeedback training, enhancing brain functioning is accomplished by pairing information about one’s brain activity with desirable or undesirable outcomes.
When we generate desirable brain activity, we are rewarded; when we generate unwanted activity, we aren’t — or in some cases undesirable brain patterns are met with a penalty.
Repeated exposure to such gains and losses can bring about long-lasting changes in brain activity such that our brains learn to produce more desirable brain patterns and less undesirable brain patterns with practice, which are then transferred into real-life behaviors.
Several randomized controlled trials have been conducted comparing neurofeedback to non-pharmacological treatments, and even more studies have compared neurofeedback to stimulant medication in treating ADHD’s core symptoms.
The results are conclusive: a focused brain acts differently from an unfocused one, and neurofeedback training can help induce a brain state that’s characteristic of showing focus.
If you or a loved one suffer from a brain disorder, or are simply looking for a way to improve your focus in 2022, there are a number of neurofeedback devices on the market created to help.
Article originally published on Medium