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AZ Tech Beat | May 24, 2017

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Mood-changing neurowearable Thync can help you chillax or conquer the world

Mood-changing neurowearable Thync can help you chillax or conquer the world
Tishin Donkersley

Video contribution Travis Arbon

Around 3:00 p.m. I start hunting for the fastest resolution to my brain fatigue, it might come in the form of coffee, tea or an energy bar, or a combination. Soon, I’ll be able to put on a new neurowearable that will naturally wake up my foggy brain through waveforms.

Thync, a lifestyle wearable, uses neurosignaling algorithms-waveforms that signal neural pathways–to shift your state of mind in areas related to energy, calm or focus.

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Thync is currently in stealth mode and is quite cautious about releasing too much information about the science and development behind the product. However, during my time at CES, I had the opportunity to demo Thync.

In a private suite, a public relations team, neuroscientists, engineers and Dr. Jamie Tyler, an Arizona State University (ASU) professor turned co-founder and CSO of Thync, was ready to hook me up as their next lab rat. At ASU, Tyler, an Associate Professor of Biological and Health System Engineering, was working on research using ultrasound to alter ones’ state of mind and caught the attention of co-founder Isy Goldwasser. Together, with a team of neuroscientists and engineering experts from ASU, Stanford, Harvard and MIT, they built the next level of neurowearable.

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Choose your mood

 

While there are brain sensing devices on the market – like Muse and Emotiv – that can read brain activity, Thync is the first wearable designed to activate specific parts of the brain to achieve a desired mood state.

Tyler explained that while people use neuroenhancers to alter ones’ state of mind, such as energy drinks, caffeine or alcohol, these chemicals effect the whole body versus one particular area of the brain. Thync is designed to pinpoint and activate certain parts of the brain to achieve a desired state chemical-free. “Our device taps into specific neural pathways that modulate psychophysiological arousal,” Tyler said.

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The app allows users to adjust and monitor the wavelength via bluetooth network

While I can’t show you the product as they are in mega stealth mode, Thync weighs about an ounce and has two parts to the device-one piece of hardware sticks to your right temple and the another piece is placed behind your right ear. Through their application and Bluetooth Low Energy network, users choose the desired program (Calm or Energy), then adjust the amount of neurosignalling, in order to optimize their experience and achieve their vibe.

During the demo, I took my time getting used to the sensation of neurosignalling flowing into my brain and adjusting the energy flow levels on the app for my first experience. To avoid the placebo effect, I didn’t drink coffee prior to the demo and I was on day three of CES-which equals sleep deprivation and living on anti-zombie neuroenhancers for this journalist.

Did it alter my brain?  During the demo I definitely felt something and at one point felt my brain wake up. I also had a sustained effect where I felt more focused and energized throughout the long work day-even my team members commented that I looked “more awake,” than earlier that morning.

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Tyler explained that Thync is designed for the everyday normal consumer and not used as a medical device, “If you use a FitBit, then this product is for you. We are not making any medical therapeutic claims whatsoever. This is a polarized wearable where the user can determine what they want to experience throughout the day.”

While these electric stimulations could potentially replace your cup of coffee, Tyler said they aren’t trying to replace any special ritual or social aspect of drinking coffee. Instead, he said, “Our goal is to provide a healthier chemical-free alternative of achieving those same mental states.”

In October of 2014, Thync raised $13M, as reported by Bloomberg, with investors including Khosla Ventures. While price and release dates are still unknown, Tyler said they plan to introduce Thync to the world sometime in 2015.

Tyler shared that he will be returning to ASU to teach. “I’m excited that I rejoined the faculty at ASU and very excited to be affiliated with ASU-they really embraced the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

Watch my exclusive interview with co-founder Dr. Jamie Tyler discussing Thync and plans to teach at ASU.

Read more about neurowearables at AZTB and follow our coverage of new tech from CES here.

Graphics courtesy of Thync