Overclock (or damage) your brain for the love of the game

Credit: foc.us

The age of the cyborgs is upon us. In almost every walk of life there exist implants or wearable gadgets that either aid or enhance the human experience. The binoculars of tomorrow will be in your contact lenses. Headphones will be implanted in your ears. And now there's a company working on enhancing your competitive edge when it comes to gaming.

Foc.us has developed a headset it claims will "overclock your brain," making you think and react faster than the competition. To do this, the headset will fire electricity into your frontal lobe. Because nothing says "pay attention" like a swift jolt to the ol' noggin. Even Foc.us' tag line "Faster Processor, Faster Graphics, Faster Brain!" almost makes sense in the era of real life cyborgs — almost.

Until you learn that Foc.us has no idea what it's doing. The technique it's using to enhance your brain function is called Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS), and it's a new technique thought to potentially aid stroke victims. And yes, there are signs that properly applied electrodes and professionally-controlled amounts of current can enhance normal brain function in healthy patients.

Note the use of words like "professional" and "properly" in the paragraph above — because the Foc.us headset doesn't come with an in-box doctor. Its electrodes also don't stimulate the motor cortex of your brain, so chances are your reaction time won't be changing when you switch your headset on. What might change, on the other hand, is the number of lesions in your brain, since neither Foc.us nor the clinical experts have any clue as to how much electricity is actually safe to apply to your brain. That's comforting.

While enhancing human mental function and awareness has long been heralded by the top minds in sci-fi, we're just not there yet. The smartphone-controlled Foc.us headset will likely have you acting out scenarios more similar to scenes from Shutter Island than Minority Report — and it'll set you back a cool $250. Thanks, but we're gonna wait for the real brain-enhancing tech to show up.

Foc.us, via NeuroBollocks and Geeky-Gadgets

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