Neurofeedback brainwave training for Chinese Special Ed students | Elyn MacInnis | TEDxHultShanghai

Elyn will be discussing Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) and the work she has been doing for the past five years with the students at Peng Cheng Special Education School in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. She will introduce the case of Li Chen Xiao, one of her students, and explain how neurofeedback changed his life. She will also present an overview of neurofeedback/brainwave training and how it has helped children with many different challenges (autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and learning differences) make progress in their studies and daily life.

Elyn MacInnis has lived in China for the past 27 years. During this time, she helped many organizations, including Peng Cheng Special Education School, and Golden Key, which helps blind and vision impaired children. She has also created programs to teach spoken English and instruct students in cross-cultural awareness on CCTV (Outlook English Magazine), in hospitals, and in other social service organizations. She has taught at the Middle and High School level, and is a minister at Trinity Congregation in Pudong.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


Music is our medicine with ‘The Sync Project’ – Wearable Tech News Credit: iStockPhoto/AleksandarNakic)

Numerous studies have proven that the right kind of music can have significant benefits to our mental health, concentration, and our energy levels. Of course, music tastes are an individual thing and you’ll probably find it difficult to get someone into grunge to admit enjoying some Katy Perry…

This is where wearables can step-in to monitor our individual responses to songs. ‘The Sync Project’ aims to achieve just this through a combination of a brainwave-sensing headband, a fitness tracker, and a heart rate monitor for your chest.

There is a lot of scope to help people with mental difficulties

On their website, The Sync Project wrote: “Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the brain, triggering neural networks related to movement, cognition, learning, memory and emotion.  We know it can help with things like pain, fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness.”

A visually-stunning smartphone app – built in collaboration with design firm IDEO – will detect your facial movements and use the combination of metrics to show how the songs affect you. There is a lot of potential here for a variety of use cases; such as stimulating long-distance truck drivers when sensors detect they are beginning to get tired.

Beyond this, there is a lot of scope to help people with mental difficulties who are often stimulated by the right kind of music. The Sync Project’s CEO, Alexis Kopikis, has said that music has helped his autistic son to communicate better than before through singing entire songs which also has a relaxing effect on him after an episode.

“There are intriguing examples of how music can improve cognition after dementia or a stroke. It can help some with autism break-through verbally or socially, or aid patients with Parkinson’s to regulate their gait.”

Wearables can step-in to monitor our individual responses to songs.

Using sensors to engage more with music is clearly the next step and one which can help us all on an individual basis to achieve our goals, or just to relax after a long day. Right now, using a system with so many sensors isn’t ideal but technological advancements are putting more of these separate devices into one.

The app is not currently available to the public as the team is working behind closed doors to ensure it is ready for primetime and to prove the effectiveness of this potentially giant leap-forward in music personalisation.

We look forward to seeing more from The Sync Project, and you can follow their journey here.

Do you think wearable sensors are the next step for music? Let us know in the comments.

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In-Ear EEG Makes Unobtrusive Brain-Hacking Gadgets a Real Possibility – IEEE Spectrum

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Brain hacking gadgets could soon be an unobtrusive part of daily life, thanks to EEG sensors that fit snugly inside the ear. Two research groups are making progress on discreet devices that offer reliable brain data—and that reliability is a key point. A few neuro gadgets for consumers have already hit the market, but it’s not at all clear that they deliver the promised brain data.

Why might you want a brain hacking gadget? Well, maybe you want to control objects in the physical world with your mind, and long to use a mere thought to unlock your front door or raise your X-wing spaceship from a swamp. Or perhaps you want to keep tabs on your brainwaves throughout the day, and seek a data-collecting gadget that acts as a Fitbit for your brain.

Companies and DIYers can make such things today (okay, probably not the X-wing lifter) with sensors that use electroencephalography, or EEG, to pick up a rough recording of brain activity. Typically, these devices use EEG electrodes that are affixed to the scalp, where they detect the patterns of electrical activity generated when millions of brain cells act in concert. The different types of “brainwaves” have been associated with different mental states, such as focus and relaxation, and different actions.

But such scalp-based electrode systems can look a little conspicuous and clunky. While startups are certainly racing to make sleeker and better EEG headsets, several research groups think that in-ear EEG sensors offer an elegant alternative.

At John Chuang’s lab at UC Berkeley, engineers modified a commercial EEG headset from the Silicon Valley company NeuroSky, taking the electrode out of the plastic forehead piece and bringing it to the ear canal. The team decided to work with “the cheapest available consumer-grade EEG headset,” Chuang says in an email, to see what they could achieve with that “challenging” setup.

The team’s ultimate goal is to use an in-ear EEG sensor to send mental commands that could control a computer, a drone, or any other electronic thing. But EEG isn’t a very clear signal. It can distinguish broad patterns such as alpha waves (with frequencies between 8 and 13 Hertz) generated when a user is resting with eyes closed, and beta waves (13 to 30 Hz), which are generated when the user is more alert. But it can’t decipher verbalized thoughts like “Go left, car!”

To use EEG in a brain-machine interface, then, researchers calibrate their systems by having the user perform “mental gestures” and identifying the EEG signatures of those efforts. Chuang’s team tried out a five different mental gestures: Test subjects sang a song inside their head, imagined a face, pictured a rotating cube, listened to a sound, and simply breathed deeply with their eyes closed.

For each person, the researchers chose the two gestures with the clearest EEG signatures. These two mental gestures could theoretically be used to create a binary control system for any hooked-up electronic device. For example, a user could imagine the rotating cube in order to make a remote-controlled car move forward, and picture a face to make it stop. Of course, steering the car left or right would require a more sophisticated system. Chuang’s team presented their research at the IEEE Body Sensor Network conference last month.

Chuang says this research points toward brainwave-sensing earbuds that quietly convey our commands to the machines in our lives. “Personally, I feel awkward speaking to my devices, or making gestures by waving my hands in the air,” he tells Spectrum. In-ear EEG could provide “a very natural and discreet way for us to ‘talk’ to our computers,” he says.

Meanwhile, Danilo Mandic’s lab at Imperial College London has been through several iterations of an earbud-like EEG device. Their latest version uses a simple noise-blocking earplug made of a spongy material called memory foam. Such earplugs conform naturally to the shape of a user’s ear, enabling excellent contact with the skin inside the ear canal. By attaching two electrodes made of a soft silver-coated fabric to the sides of an earplug, the researchers obtained high-quality EEG signals.

By inventing a device that’s cheap, unobtrusive, and comfortable, Mandic says his group is clearing the way for a “truly wearable” EEG system. “The ear-EEG also opens up completely new avenues in 24/7 monitoring of the state of body and mind,” Mandic says in an email. He imagines possibilities such as using EEG to monitor the progress of chronic diseases, to track sleep patterns, or to keep tabs on military personnel’s mental state and fitness for duty.

Outside of the lab, a Kickstarter campaign for an in-ear gadget with a built-in EEG sensor raised more than $150,000 this spring. That gadget, called Aware, requires a 3-D scan of the user’s ear canal to produce a customized ear piece. It will be interesting to see who else jumps into this brand new commercial sector (iBrain, anyone?).

IEEE Spectrum’s biomedical blog, featuring the wearable sensors, big data analytics, and implanted devices that enable new ventures in personalized medicine.

© Copyright 2016 IEEE — All rights reserved. Use of this Web site signifies your agreement to the IEEE Terms and Conditions.A not-for-profit organization, IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

-Curated content from Wired Meditation. Please follow links to the original material.


Melon Brainwave Headband Review

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Melon Brainwave Headband Review

An activity monitor for your brain that teaches you about cognitive performance.

Turn the invisible activity of your mind visible! Melon’s brainwave monitoring headband listens to the electrical activity naturally given off by your brain. Using Bluetooth 4.0LE, Melon connects to your phone to help you track and train several mental states, including focus, meditation, and relaxation. The mobile app lets you understand how your behavior affects how you feel and teaches you how to improve. The headband is adjustable in the back to fit all head sizes for people ages 10 and up. Delivery set for Summer 2014.

Developers: The SDK and hardware hacking documentation will be available online soon.

Research yourself using Melon Brainwave Headband Review and track your focus, relaxation, or meditation during any activity you choose.

The app grabs data about your location, who you’re with, and anything else possibly relevant to your mental state. You can add tags about what you ate, drank, and how you’re feeling. All of this data is used to spot trends about what may be positively or negatively affecting your mental state. Real-time tips alert you when you need to take breaks to maintain your focus, relaxation or meditation.

A quick exercise to help you tune your mind to your desired mental state.

Melon Brainwave Headband Review gives you tips that help quickly guide you to your desired mental state. Use this section of the app to prepare for an event or performance. Tune is about giving you confidence in your ability to get focused or unwind whenever you need.


Play games based on the science of neurofeedback to learn how to focus, relax, and meditate better.

Our first game allows you to fold origami with your mind. The faster you get into your desired mental state and the longer you sustain it, the faster you can complete a fold. Each new creature you unlock will be more challenging than the last. Training your brain has never been more fun, and your friends and family will be impressed with your collection of creatures, indicative of your progress!

-Curated from the Web by Wired Meditation to keep you informed. Wired Meditation is not the author of this material so do follow links to learn more from the source author.

Alpha Waves and the Future of Brain Monitoring

<MUSIC> Alpha waves are a particular type of brain activity where a big group of your neurons all fire together, in synchrony, ten times every second, at 10-Hertz. So it is like 10 fires every second, this big group of neurons. How big the alpha peaks and troughs are represents how many neurons are contributing to this electrical field. It was thought, in the past, that alpha waves represented just kind of the idling process the brain. So, when you put your car in neutral and it just starts to idle, that was thought of what an alpha wave was; just kind of your visual cortex stopping processing.

But it has come to be found in many more brain areas that this is kind of a general inhibitory mechanism in the brain. So it is not just an “off” that just happens whenever you are not doing anything. But you can selectively choose which parts of your brain to inhibit with these alpha oscillations. So, okay, I have a goal. I want to pay attention to all the stuff that is in my lane while I am driving and other stuff in that lane or oncoming traffic. And so, to do that, it is not magic. Your brain has to selectively boost some processing and decrease some other processing. And that is what we think where alpha oscillations come in is that they can target those different circuits selectively and any brain area can express this alpha activity as a way to dampened down the activity there. It has become clear you can kind of give people feedback in real-time about their alpha.

So you can measure their alpha and then tell them how much they have. And then say, Okay, increase it.” And they do not necessarily know how to increase it. But they will just try something. And, if it works, you will give them feedback and slowly you can get them to boost up or dampen their alpha. I think that is a really exciting avenue of research. People are really trying to integrate brain imaging and robotics and control arms and control movements. But for people that do not have disabilities and people that do not need to control robots across the room, how can brain imaging help the average person? I think that the future is going to bring a kind of monitoring of our online states; besides just “Oh, I am getting tired and I am yawning.” You will be able to see that you are getting tired or that you are not paying attention or that you are getting anxious and maybe be able to adjust these things in real-time.

The cool they about this technology is that there are starting to be these startup companies that are making more and more portable EEG systems so that you do not look like you are wearing an EEG thing. It is just a simple band or on your glasses that you are wearing. Also there is a group here, John Rogers’ group, that makes flexible, conformable EEG electrodes that you can stick and they will stay like a tattoo onto your head. So you can imagine people wearing them more permanently around the sides their head. I know the U.S. archery team and the marksman team already uses portable EEG systems to train people to get in the right cognitive state as they are leading into their shot. And they know that a certain state is the best for getting the optimal targeting. And so something like that might be better, not just for archers and shooters in the Olympics, but for the average truck driver, the average mum that is driving to get groceries, should maybe also have something warning her when she is not paying attention. And as that field progresses and the technology advances, our ability to understand people in the real world environment and how their brain processes the real world will undoubtedly improve.

As found on Youtube