The nonprofit organization U.S. Expeditions and Explorations, or USX, works to shed light on the battle veterans experiencing PTSD face each day, and has assembled a team of active duty soldiers that are about to climb Mount Everest.
Neuroplus is a startup that has created a brain-training device aiming to help those with ADHD improve their concentration. In doing so, they have created a headset that can detect our brainwaves, using electroencephalogram sensors to detect the electrical activity in our brains. The North Carolina-based company launched a crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its goal of raising $100,000 with five days to spare.
The headset can use the data from our minds as an input system for its games, which call upon the player to concentrate in order to accomplish certain tasks. The game will also give feedback so the player can improve their score.
Jake Stauch, CEO of NeuroPlus, discussed the game’s purpose more in an interview with GamesBeat. “We make brain-controlled games to help people improve their ability to pay attention,” says Stauch. “Kids learn to focus on sitting still and relaxing. We have known that you get better at things you practice. If you find ways to practice these skills, you can show improvements.” Stauch has seven years of experience and has worked as a researcher at the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.
The company performed a pilot study with children diagnosed with ADHD that showed their improvement on focusing and decrease in hyperactivity and impulsivity after using the NeuroPlus system.
Sandeep Vaishnai, a neuropsychiatrist at Duke University and director at the Neuropsychiatric Clinic at Carolina partners in Mental Healthcare, presented the study at the sixth World Congress on ADHD in Vancouver. The study consisted 60 children from ages 8 to 13, and showed very promising results according to Vaishnavi.
The program uses an EEG headset with a flexible design and adjustable band that will capture real-time feedback on brain activity and body movements as the user plays. It will also have an accelerator for sensing motion, so that the user will perform better in games that require composure.
Games for the device include Axon, where players users must focus and maintain composure to help a dragon stay airborne and defend a town from monstrous villains. If the user cannot focus and remain calm, they will lose points and control of the dragon.
“I’m so impressed with the drastic changes I’ve seen with my children’s grades since they started using NeuroPlus,” states Perquita Pena, a mother of twins with ADHD and user of NeuroPlus. “We don’t use medications because of their side effects, and we’re grateful to have something that really works and is fun for them.”
Three games will be available by December with the launch of the headset. According to Stauch, the company is working on opening the platform up to other game developers as well. He states that over 75,000 orders have already come in.
This piece is based on an article by Dean Takahashi for venturebeat.com, which can be seen here.
Mike Nickas received his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University in December of 2015, and is currently pursuing his second BA at the University of South Florida in psychology with a minor in education. He is the former host of the online news show The Week in Neurodiversity. He also currently works for Dr. Mike Rizzo’s Child Provider Specialists in Weston, FL.