lWorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesús.
Focus Pocus uses a brainwave-reading headset and helps children ages 7-13 improve impulse control, memory, attention and relaxation.
One of the developers became interested in alternative treatments for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) after listening to their parents’ concerns about over-medication.
Players wear a headset called MindWave that connects wirelessly to a PC and uses electroencephalographic (EEG) technology to read electrical activity in the brain’s pre-frontal cortex where higher thinking -- such as emotions, mental states and concentration -- occur. The MindWave uses a single sensor on the forehead for data input and two sensors on the ear clip for grounding and reference.
Once the headset is on a player’s head, the child then takes on the role of an apprentice wizard, working through 12 mini games that requires he or she to think in certain ways. For instance, to cast a hex on ghouls or zap goblins the player needs to remember where in a library a spell book was left. The player also can turn a pig into a trumpet by relaxing and do things like fly a broomstick by concentrating.
Parents have access to daily reports as well as a comprehensive report on performance changes in impulse control and memory, EEG changes and observable behavior change.
Focus Pocus and the MindWave headset cost $249. Currently the game is available for Windows PCs but not Macs.
THE MAGIC OF GAMES BROUGHT TO LIFE BY MIND-CONTROL.
Focus Pocus ™ is the world’s first learning application that effectively incorporates NeuroSky’s real time electroencephalography.
In Focus Pocus™ the player takes on the roll of an apprentice wizard, working their way through structured mini games using the revolutionary BCI (brain computer interface) headset, the NeuroSky Mindwave™. The twelve exciting mini games, other than being incredibly fun to play, also require the child to exercise specific behavioural traits. For example:
- 'Impulse control' whereby certain goblins in a forest are zapped.
- 'Working memory' requiring the player to remember where a spell book was left in a library and to cast hexes on ghouls and goblins
- 'State control' games, where players must relax to turn a pig into a trumpet, concentrate to hurtle along on a broomstick, or a host of other wizardy tasks
It is a new system that has produced positive results in research conducted by Dr Stuart Johnstone of the University of Wollongong (Australia), who tested the cognitive strategies utilized by Focus Pocus. He found that training in impulse-control and memory minimized the effects of distraction, improving overall concentration and behaviour. "I developed an interest in alternative treatments for children with ADHD after listening to their parents’ concerns about over-medication," explains Johnstone.
Dr. Joseph Graffi, CEO of NeuroCog Solutions, says:
"Focus Pocus™ is a game with benefits. We are very excited about giving kids the opportunity to improve their behavior while having fun. Focus Pocus™ is the first in a line of products that NeuroCog are creating that are based on research, as well as being user-friendly, affordable, and suitable for use by individuals at home or in professional settings."
Stanley Yang, CEO of NeuroSky, states,
"We are always excited to enable partners to develop new and meaningful products and Focus Pocus can contribute so much as a new learning tool."
Chief Executive of roll7, Simon Bennett, says
"Focus Pocus is a vision of the future for games, health and education – combining the latest body sensors with a ‘gamified’ dynamic and real-time cloud reporting for parents and/or professionals."
For details on purchasing Focus Pocus via international distributors, please visit www.neurocog.com.au