The Neuroscience Revolution is Here: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Brain With Technology

“The brain is the last and grandest biological frontier, the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe. It contains hundreds of billions of cells interlinked through trillions of connections. The brain boggles the mind.”

~James D. Watson, 1992

My friends, we’ve recently entered a new era in human evolution. The neuroscience revolution is upon us, and things are starting to get very, very interesting.

Here’s the deal: while our ancestors’ brains evolved over thousands of years, you can now use tools to supercharge your brain within the span of a few months. 

Over the last 20 years, the field of neuroscience has helped us grasp more about the human brain’s functioning than we did in the previous 200,000 years.

And now, a new wave of neuroscience has arrived. While in the past researchers were mainly concerned with understanding and curing mental illnesses, there are now several teams focusing on creating technologies that allow people like you and me to enhance our brain’s performance. 

And we’re not talking about super expensive technologies that only the rich and famous can afford.  Nope. The technologies I’m talking about are affordable, and make it possible for anyone to take their brain to the next level. 

Faster and clearer thinking, greater creativity, and lower stress levels. These are only some of the benefits that we can now make ours thanks to modern science and engineering.

How do I know? A few months ago, I went on a quest to become Limitless. Just like Bradley Cooper’s character in the movie, minus the magic pill. The results were astounding.

Since then I’ve been keeping an eye out for the newest technologies available, and I haven’t ceased to be amazed by what’s possible.

Today, I want to take you on a quick tour of what’s currently out there if you want to hack your brain into higher gear.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 technologies to take your brain to the next level and unleash your full cognitive potential.

***

1) Neurosky’s Mindwave

This product is truly the sign that the future has arrived.

The team over at Neurosky has taken Electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which was traditionally used in medical facilities to gather data about patient’s brains, and have adapted it so we can play video games directly with our mind, Jedi-style!

That’s right- no remote, no keyboard, no mouse, simply an EEG reader placed directly on our head to measure our brain wave frequencies.  

Neurosky’s Mindwave games are designed specifically to train our brain to become more focused, more relaxed, and more alert. It’s truly fascinating.

You can check out Mindwave’s AppStore to discover all the games that are currently available for download. There are currently about 70 apps available with several more currently in development.

Pretty sweet, isn’t it?

The most amazing this about this product is that while EEG machines generally costs thousands of dollars, this piece of equipment goes for a mere $99.

Neurosky’s company motto is “Brain sensors for everybody” and I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the future! Click here to check ‘em out.

2) Binaural Beats

Binaural Beats are AWESOME. I’ve been using them everyday for the last 6 months and they’ve really taken my mental game to a new level.

They are sound patterns whereby slightly different frequencies are played in each ear. This causes the brain to compensate for the difference that’s coming in each ear by creating a vibration that’s equal to the difference between what’s coming in each ear.

Here’s where it gets interesting: binaural beats are specifically designed to generate brainwave patterns that promote a state of enhanced focus, relaxation, creativity or learning. 

I’ve been experimenting with different types of binaural beats for almost a year now, and I’ve found 3 main applications:

1) Enhanced Meditation

By creating a different vibration in each ear, binaural beats allow our brain to slow down and achieve theta and delta frequencies, the same experienced by Zen Buddhists monks in deep meditation. This “shortcut” allows even beginner meditators to achieve the benefits of meditation.

If you want to get into meditation or supercharge your practice, I highly suggest trying the Brain Evolution System.

2) Greater Focus, Energy, or Creativity While Working

Perhaps the most promising aspect of binaural beats is the effect they can have on us while we’re in an active state. There are specific soundtracks that are created to enhance different states needed to create amazing work like higher focus, enhanced creativity or extra energy.

I personally use a system called Limitless IQ to give me an extra boost when I’m working or writing.

3) Faster Sleep Time

Like many people, I used to have a hard time falling asleep on some nights. I’d be thinking about 101 things, tossing and turning.

One day I decided to throw on a 15-minute theta binaural beat as I laid down… and fell asleep instantly after the track was over.  I repeated the experiment the next night, and the next… and soon found that this technique allowed me to fall asleep in less than 2-3 minutes at least 90% of the time.

Even better, I’ve noticed that I also have much more vivid dreams when I do this. The specific track I use for this is the “theta” track that came as a bonus with Holothink’s Laser Focus track.

***

Although they were discovered all the way back in 1839 by eminent scientist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, binaural beats are just starting to get popular. As their benefits are becoming better known I predict they will reach the mainstream within the next few years.

Why not jump on the bandwagon now? :)

3) en*theos Academy’s Brain Power Class

Ok this one is a bit different.

A big part of increasing our brain’s power is to learn the basics of neuroscience from the people who’ve studied it extensively.

I have recently joined Michael Gelb (world-leading authority on the application of genius thinking) for a virtual class entitled “Brain Power”. The class is offered by the en*theos academy for Optimal Living, which offers virtual classes taught by world-experts in their fields.

In this class, Gelb teaches about the concepts of neuroplasticity, the “healthy brain” diet, brain exercise, and strategies to improve learning and memory. The awesome thing is that we get to interact directly with him and ask him questions. What an incredible opportunity!

You can click on the logo below to join me in class (it’s not too late)!

PS I’ve recently become a Teaching Assistant for the Academy, and I get to learn directly from the world-class teacher while getting paid. Livin’ the dream baby! :P

4) Lumosity (Brain Training Games)

Do you like playing games? Yes? Me too…

What if I were to tell you that there exists computer games developed by neuroscientists specifically to boost our brain’s performance.

Is that something you might be interested? :)

Last year, during my Limitless adventures, I discovered Lumosity, the world’s leading brain-game website.

Each game is designed to enhance a specific function of our brain (speed, memory, attention, flexibility, problem solving) and guess what… they’re actually fun!

The cool thing about Lumosity is that it tracks your performance over time, and allows you to see your progress. Even better (for the competitive among us), is that it allows us to compare our performance with other players in our age group.

After quite a few hours of playing/training, here’s where I stand right now:

The great thing about Lumosity is that in only 15 minutes/day you can have significant improvements in your level of “brain fitness”!

And if you love playing games on your iPhone, forget about Angry Birds and start playing with Lumosity’s “Brain Trainer” app.

If you want to get your brain fitter while having fun, check out Lumosity’s free trial. But be wary, once you start it’s kinda addictive… in a good way!

5) Speed Reading/Brain Enhancement Programs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about techniques to greatly increase your reading speed. While these techniques definitely work, I’ve recently discovered the following technologies that greatly simplify the process of becoming a super-fast reader.

As fast reading and brain cognition are becoming more and more important skills (with everything we read on our computer), I highly encourage you to check out these out:

1) EyeQ Advantage: This program was recommended to me a few weeks ago and even though I’ve only just started using it, I am thoroughly impressed.

Through different exercises where we follow different words and shapes moving through the screen, we train our eye speed, cognitive performance, and vision range.

The exercises are challenging but super short which is good. The training sessions are only 7 minutes long.

You can try a demo right here. I swear after I did the demo I felt like my brain was in superman mode for the next 2 hours! Let me know if the same happens to you!

2) 7 Speed Reading: I haven’t personally used this software, but it’s been getting rave reviews around the internet. Their guarantee is that you’ll read 3-10x faster after 2 weeks of doing the program for 7 minutes/day, so it’s definitely promising! Only problem is it’s not available for Macs!

3) Spreeder: This one is awesome for any long body of text you have to read online. All you do is paste the text in Spreeder, and the words will appear one by one one the screen at the speed you chose. I usually set it for 600w/m and find that I can keep up pretty well (at minimal effort). I definitely encourage you to try it out (and it’s free, too).

Conclusion

“The peculiar fascination with the brain lies in the fact that there is probably no other object of scientific enquiry about which we know at once so much yet understand so little.” ~Gerg Sommerhoff

My friends, we’re truly blessed to be a part of the first generation of humans that have all these tools at our disposal. We’re now in control of our own evolution, and the possibilities are literally… limitless.

And what’s even more exciting is that we’re only scratching the surface… Believe me, this revolution is only starting.

Over our lifetime, we’re going to see some pretty mind-blowing stuff! :)

But in the meantime, why not start boosting that supercomputer that’s in your head right away? Because as Wilder Penfield saidThe brain is the organ of destiny. It holds within its humming mechanism secrets that will determine the future of the human race.”

Cheers!
Phil

PS- I’m curious: what do you think about all this? Have you heard of any other brain-boosting technologies? And what do you see coming up in the future?

Please share this post, because that’s how more people can take their brain to the next level!  

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Posted on : 9, May 2012

33 Comments

  • YAY!!! You know this is my favorite subject right?

    Anyways. I wanted to mention a few things that may contribute to this content. One, if you use binaural beats, then I’m surprised you don’t know about isochronic tones. They have been proven to be more efficient because they work faster. Binaural beats take about 20 minutes to fully entrain your brain, however isochronic tones only take about 6.

    I wanted to comment on that neurosky mindwave machine. I think that is really cool. I think it is a similar concept to biofeedback, but with games. Essentially, being able to track your brainwaves allows you to learn how to produce the desired waves after concentration.

    Why didn’t you mention nootropics? It is on the forefront of cognitive enhancement, and there are many that are completely safe. Racetams, for example, are just as safe as supplements, but they pack a punch.
    I wouldn’t recommend to others to do what I did and strap a tDCS machine to their head, but I tell you that some nootropics used in conjunction with isochronic tones, and you will feel like a freaking psychic or something. Really, you should try it out.

    And thank you for the speed reading resources. This was actually the very next thing on my list of things to do to my brain.

    • Hey Anthony! Thanks for the comment buddy.

      Which isochronic tones do you currently use? I’ve heard the name but haven’t looked specifically into it.

      I didn’t discuss nootropics because I wanted to get specific to “technology” but I certainly agree that they work. I had an Alpha Brain 1 hour before giving a training to a group of entrepreneurs tonight and I felt like a million bucks the whole time.

      Have you heard about this? http://www.heartmathstore.com/ I’m really tempted to pick up one of the emwaves. Dave Asprey from Bulletproof exec said it was his #1 recommendation to boost brain power.. and he’s really an expert about all this stuff (been researching it for 10+ years)

      • Check out something called “Life Flow”. No I do not have anything to do with them and I am not trying to promote their product, but I have used the product for a while and I can honestly say it changed my focus after a day. They use 12 layers of isochronic, binural and monochronic waves. Making it possible to listen to it on speakers and in headphones. They suggest vary between as your body picks up these waves from speakers, and affect you differently from when you only get them via headphones.

  • Most of these technologies have limited use at best, and studies have come out showing that they don’t really have long-term benefits.

    One such study out of Cambridge about Lumosity:

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8495377

    Conclusion about Lumosity training: “There were no significant effects of training on self-reported everyday memory functioning or mood.”

    Also, I have all of Gelb’s books and I’m also enlisted in both the Entheos courses he has done — while he writes compellingly, I view him more as inspiration fodder for my lifestyle. But he does not know how to actually TEACH someone to think like Da Vince, Edison, etc — that’s all marketing. You cannot become a genius simply by arranging your outer environment with classical music and flowers, etc. His last book was pretty good, but that was all information from the medical journals compiled into one tome and an added audio bonus that, once again, has no validity in the lab.

    Now, there’s nothing wrong about someone choosing to use these technologies as a better use of time than watching the tube, but do not make grandstanding claims about science without providing what we call in the rational world: proof. You may “feel” smarter, but only testing will prove that.

    • Hey Damon,

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, I appreciate it.

      Here are a few resources that support some of the technologies I wrote about:

      In defense of my buddy Phil, I will provide the “proof” you feel is lacking. The following is a peer review done on the effectiveness of brain entrainment.

      http://www.mindfrolic.com/entrain.pdf

      Conclusion: The majority of all tests, even ones whose focus was not on enhancement, lead to some form of cognitive improvement.

      Regarding the neurosky machine, biofeedback has been proven on numerous occasions to increase performance on many levels because it trains you to control brainwaves. In this study the focus was on alpha waves, and the conclusion was that with time, one could reach a “flow” state and perform at expert levels.

      http://ijr.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.191/prod.70

      Furthermore, Lumosity pays big bucks to have research conducted constantly, and have just as many (if not more) studies that support the benefits as there are that say they don’t work.

      http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/09/06/11-neuroscience-quotes-that-will-change-your-views-on-brain-training/

      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/04/25/0801268105.abstract

      http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/296/23/2805.full

      ***

      I’m curious though, what would you personally recommend to someone who’s committed to improving their cognitive performance? What have you found most effective in your own life?

      Thanks!
      Phil

      • Unfortunately I have to agree with Damon on this one. Just because “research has been done” doesn’t necessarily prove anything when the research was paid for by people who stand to profit from the findings (point in case, Luminosity). In some cases such research probably is funded by the corporate marketing departments.

        The sources you cite are not from reputable neuroscience or cognitive journals. But the products you mention are definitely fun, probably boost your spirits, and are relatively cheap or free. I actually might look into the EEG apparatus. I saw something similar in a TED talk, and a colleague of mind (a fellow psychologist) uses something like that in his practice to help teach meditation.

  • One word to describe Spreeder: wow. I just tried it at their base rate of 300wpm and was impressed that I managed to take everything in. I saw that you set it at 600wpm so I decided to give that a try (fully expecting not to understand a single word). I was pleasantly surprised! I actually understood most of what I read. It’s amazing how slowly we read if we rely on our inner voice to say each word as we go along. That feels like a snail’s pace now!

    Also, I just received a demo CD from Holosync. Can’t wait to give it a try after hearing so many great things.

    P.S. Congrats on the teaching assistant job! Sounds like something that’s right up your street.

    • Hey Rebecca!! Yeah Spreeder is sweeeeeet! I have a hard time reading on the computer and this has been a true blessing for me.

      AWESOME about Holosync! I’m still doing my daily 30-40 minutes with it and loving it as much as ever. Let me know if you have any questions about it!

      And yes the TA job couldn’t be better for me. I really feel like things are starting to come together and I see some great opportunities in the horizon.

      Hope things are good for you!!

  • Looks great, Phil!

  • have you tried n-back training? supposed to bump your iq.

    • Hey Jason, yeah I tried it a while back but I remember it was quite basic and I didn’t have that much fun playing it. The way I see it, it’s like the ancestor of Lumosity, which is more evolved and more enjoyable.

  • Sean…..you may be right regarding the research for Lumosity….but apparently you didnt check all links. The research provided for entrainment is a peer review done by non-biased PHd’s. The link to research for biofeedback was from a reputable neuroscience journal. To only focus on the weak points of the argument to disprove the whole argument is a logical fallacy.

    • In the research, I am looking for two things. Does an intervention lead to a significant change (both pragmatic and statistical), and what is the likelihood based on the inferential statistics that such change is due to chance. Many of the interventions mentioned (#2,3 and 4) don’t seem to produce significant neurological changes. Either the interventions themselves are weak, or the effects are ephemeral.

      Take for example the Mozart effect. Many studies look at classical music. An example of such a study will have a control group take a test (establishing a baseline). An experimental group will listen to some Mozart and then take the same test. Their scores might be higher than the control scores. In the field of behavioral economics that would be like a priming heuristic. Suppose we add a second experimental group. They listen to Mozart but then wait half an hour or an hour and then take the test. Their scores will likely not be any different than the control scores. There are myriads of explanations out there for these types of phenomenon which I won’t get into here.

      I really don’t mean to downplay any of the above interventions and I really probably shouldn’t have commented to begin with. I don’t mean to “only focus on the weak points of the argument to disprove the whole argument”. Just keep in mind that the scientific community is definitely not in agreement that all these interventions do what they say they do. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from giving them a try. And you are right that there is some promise to the biofeedback research if you are referring to the EEG technology. Keep in mind that it’s new technology (or at least this function of it is rather nascent), but I’ll definitely be following that research with interest. I can’t believe that they have a consumer apparatus available for only $100. And a non-invasive one at that! Pretty exciting stuff.

  • You make an excellent point. Clinical studies aside, I have conducted my own research, employing mechanisms to ensure my results arent placebo, and found that entrainment has a definite effect. When I used nootropics in conjunction with isochronic tones my cognitive enhancement experience was elevated tremendously.

  • I found this site about a month back and read the “Limitless” post that recommended Luminosity. After a day or two of the free trial, I signed up since it was actually fun! My BPI is now in the 93rd percentile! I think that’s pretty awesome! Haha. I’m not sure if it is really affecting my cognitive performance outside the games. (How do I judge that? I don’t feel “smarter” or that I’ve improved my memory, attention, problem solving, etc. skills but, again, I’m not really sure how to judge that.) Either way, I’m not a gamer but the games are definitely fun and it does make me happy to set a goal for my BPI’s and then reach it! Originally I just wanted to get in the 70th percentile, then 80th, then 90th. Now I’m reaching for the top and want 99s across the board! Haha.

  • I love your blogs! I’ve reading them for 3 hrs! Very inspirational. :)

    • Nice!!! Thank you so much Gonzalez!! Now go out there and apply this great wisdom :)

  • Hey Phil….you’d been asking about my results in my transcranial direct current stimulation experimentation.
    Here ya go!

  • [...] Note: This is an article that got submitted to me by Jock after he read my article The Neuroscience Revolution is Here: 5 ways to Supercharge Your Brain with Technology. Jock studies neuroscience in College and I thought his perspective was very interesting and [...]

  • dual n back is also known to be good for working memory ( the ability to dig into memory to make on the spot decisions )

    • women are very good at this in my opinion :)

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  • Hey Phil, Thanks for the post. I stumbled upon it after listening to TEDx talk about tDCS by Dr. Maarten Frens. I meditate on a daily basis and also, occasionally I use binaural beat waves to enhance my concentration. So I wanted to know whether what I already practice is enough to compensate for the use of tDCS technique which I believe speeds up the process of learning a new thing. I found your post beneficial and also the comments from some of the people above very interesting.

    One comment though which was posted by Damon about the techniques not having a long lasting effect caught my eye. Damon should be aware that nothing is permanent. Everything has to be repeated or is in a cycle form for life just like eating food or education.

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So, what do you think?