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What is the Brain-Machine Interface
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Trying to gain a competitive advantage is nothing new in the world of sports. From Gatorade to Under Armour, athletes have shown they are willing to embrace the latest trends and products that can help enhance their game. Halo Sports is hoping to be the latest to change the landscape of the competitive sports world.
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Halo Sport is the first to release a product based on neurotechnology specifically geared towards athletes. Aesthetically, their product resembles something you’d expect to see from Beats by Dre or Bose but it does much more than your typical headphones. Through the use of neuropriming the headphones transmit gentle impulses designed to increase the excitability of motor neurons. This priming increases neural drive, meaning your brain recruits more muscle fibers into action which enables increased force. Additionally neuropriming can improve the brain’s processes for learning and retaining information. The headset can be paired with the Halo Sport app, already available on iPhone and coming to Android soon. Halo Sport likens their product to a pre-workout meal. Skeptical yet? Understandable.
Halo Sport was founded by Doctors Daniel Chao and Brett Wingeier. They spent more than 10 years at Neuropace working on an implanted neurostimulator for epilepsy treatment. This work culminated with the device being approved by the FDA in 2013. It senses an oncoming epileptic episode and provides a counteracting stimulus. The result? A patient with even 100 seizures a day can become seizure free and lead a normal life. Pleased with the results but frustrated with the difficulty of a device that required surgery to use, they soon turned their attention to what became Halo Sport.
The doctors believe that neurotechnology could translate in other ways. Early tests in conjunction with the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas, TX have been promising. The study conducted there was to see if Halo Sport had positive effects on lower body strength and performance. Overall it showed a 12% increase in performance, with a 12.2% increase in air squats, 13% in squat jumps, and 11.2% in counter jumps.
The United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) has also tried Halo Sport and found similarly positive results. Compared to a control group, skiers saw a 13% increase in propulsion force, and increased the smoothness of their jumps by 11%. The results are encouraging and will likely turn heads in the industry in the near future.
Halo Sport is betting on the power of the brain, and the fact that up until now it has been a largely untapped resource. If Dr. Chao and Wingeier’s last endeavor before Halo Sport is any indicator, these two may be on their way to changing the athletic industry for good.
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