Our brains often misbehave; they make us bored, anxious, procrastinatory, they get distracted at all the wrong times. Many of us accept this behavior as an unchangeable part of life, and why not? Thought is a difficult process to debug, given what limited access we have to our true internal mental state. What we need to overcome our mental bad habits, then, is a sort of debugger; a device that tells us more than what we can intuit given our own stream of consciousness.
Neuromancer is such a device for helping us improve our concentration. Comprised of an EEG headset (either an Emotiv or BioSemi EEG) and a software suite, it aims to improve our focus by giving us real-time neurofeedback on our current state of concentration. The Neuromancer package, whose (alpha) source can be found here, consists of a Java backend, browser frontend, and a handful of Python scripts for data processing. Neuromancer provides users with a concentration-based task while simultaneously measuring neural signals via EEG. After training a classifier that determines the relative face/place focus of a user, Neuromancer gives users real time neurofeedback on their focus by altering the presented stimulus. fMRI studies have shown that such an experiment can improve participants’ performance on concentration tasks, even after the neurofeedback is removed, as compared to controls.
More details to come soon. Stay tuned!