MindWave Mobile: The Headset that Reads Your Brainwaves


Neuroscience meets technology in the MindWave Mobile, an EEG device for Android and iOS platforms that reads the user’s brainwaves in order to interact with a number of mobile applications. The MindWave connects to the mobile handset via Bluetooth, and is available in two different packages: the MindPlay bundle and the Brainwave Starter Kit. This headset is similar to the MindWave which is a standard EEG, but uses BCI to communicate with a computer or mobile phone.

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What Exactly is the MindWave?

The MindWave is a device that utilizes a BCI (Brain Computer Interface), which translates electrophysiological activity (brain waves) in signals that can be used by mechanical devices. While the technology itself is fairly new, humans have dreams of the possibility for decades. In fact, BCI devices were the staple of many older science fiction television series, like the Six Million Dollar Man, which features a man that had been fitted with a neural prosthesis after being injured.

What Does the MindWave Do?

In essence, the MindWave allows the wearer to interact with a simulated environment by using nothing more than their thoughts. Granted, the device does not actually read the thoughts, but rather the electrical impulses being produced by the brain, usually catching them as they run along the scalp. Think of it as a new type of game controller that interprets brainwave patterns to control a game or application rather than requiring the user to press buttons on a hand-held controller. Regular use of the MindWave device may, according to the manufacturer, allow the wearer to reach higher mental states, much the same way that those who frequently read books get better at reading.

What the MindWave Doesn’t Do

NeuroSky, the company that makes the MindWave Mobile, is quick to point out that the device does not control the thoughts of the wearer. The device is unidirectional, meaning that the information only flows from the brain to the device, not the other way around. Unfortunately for the evil masterminds of the world, this process makes it impossible to interfere with, or control, the thoughts of others.

Brainwave Starter Kit vs. MyndPlay Bundle

The MindWave comes in two basic packages, each with varying features. The Brainwave Starter Kit, for instance, consists of only the headset, and is considered to be a basic introduction to brainwave technology and neuroscience. The MyndPlay bundle, on the other hand, is touted as the world’s first mind-controlled video application, and is similar to the “choose your own adventure” books. The MyndPlay lets users adjust outcomes and scenes within movies by simply relaxing and focusing as needed.

Availability of Apps

NeuroSky operates an app store specifically for the MindWave device. This store consists of more than 100 games, puzzles and other applications that work with the device. Prices for NeuroSky’s apps vary greatly, similar to most other app stores. Applications range from simple games like fishing, golf and sports, to apps that help the user exercise their mental capacity, such as a math trainer, visualization applications and meditation journals. NeuroSky apps are available for Windows and Mac as well as both iOS and Android devices, and are created by a number of well-known developers such as Alchemy, CuSoft and Itallis.