A new gaming headset promises to "increase the plasticity of your brain" and "make your synapses fire faster" by firing electricity into your prefrontal cortex.
Could this lead to a new generation of enhanced super-gamers? At least it's probably better for you than Mountain Dew and Red Bull.
The FOC.US headset uses Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to induce current in the frontal lobe using four electrodes, which is believed to "increase cognitive performance" including problem solving and coordination. Initially intended to help stroke sufferers and depression patients, the theory is based on reputable medical trials, though the FOC.US designers stress that the headset is absolutely not a medical device and is not regulated by the FDA.
Current (<2.05mA) is controlled via an iPhone app, which claims to "increase the plasticity of your brain." The developers liken it to having an accelerator for your synapses when you need it most.
It's a fascinating theory, but the long-term effects of this device haven't yet been tested. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, some experts are concerned about the potential ramifications of the do-it-yourself device.
''It's a bit like having an accelerator and brake in a car,'' posits Professor Colleen Loo, clinical research psychiatrist. ''Neither is bad and both are very useful but applying them judiciously at the right time and in the right context is absolutely essential. I think stimulation of yourself with do-it-yourself kits is potentially quite dangerous.
''Even with a single session, I am concerned about people doing some mischief to themselves … if you did this while playing a game and then you went out and drove a car and had an accident, did it affect your reaction time, your co-ordination?''
It's also possible that the FOC.US induces such a small current to comply with CE Safety standards that there's no benefit or detriment whatsoever.
All new technology gets its backlash before mainstream acceptance, but is zapping your brain perhaps a step too far in terms of just getting a slight advantage in League Of Legends? Either way, the device is currently now shipping at $249.99. More details available on the FOC.US website.
I might get one for Monday mornings.