A few years ago, I had the opportunity to try out an alternative to medication in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. The idea is that ADD causes some people to generate brainwaves in an abnormal pattern.

When a normal child tries to read or concentrate, he increases the amount of beta waves in certain parts of his brain. ADHD children don’t do this. Instead of increasing beta waves, they increase theta waves, the daydreaming brain wave. That means that where other children are concentrating harder to complete a certain task, ADHD children are drifting off. (source)

The machine I was hooked up to measured my brain waves and presented me with a video screen with an airplane on it. When I was concentrating well and producing beta waves, the plane would go faster. If I lost focus, the plane would slow down. I marveled at the idea and wondered whether someone could simply exercise their brain until they were no longer prone to ADD type behaviors. Of course the equipment involved made it difficult to find a location that could provide this sort of treatment, and the costs were rather higher.

Interestingly, now it seems to be available as a home game. With a Star Wars theme.

Yes I’m serious.

ThinkGeek.com has put up for sale the Star Wars Force Trainer, for about $120. As a Star Wars fan, I felt obligated to check it out. I stopped dead in my tracks when I got midway through the description.

Using dry sensor technology, the Force Trainer can determine the differences between the alpha, beta, gamma and delta waves present in your brain. You can control these different brain ‘states’ by using your ability to focus and to concentrate. A micro-chip inside the Force Trainer then uses an algorithm to figure out which brain state you are in and then decides how to raise or lower the ball based on that state.

Sound familiar? I don’t know for certain what makes the ball go up or down, but if it’s keying in on beta waves, then isn’t it doing the exact same thing that I tried out in at the SMART workshop?? And if that’s the case… could this actually be a home version that ADD students could use to help train them to focus their concentration on demand?

I know it sounds crazy, but this just might be the most valuable toy a parent could buy for their ADD inclined student.

Now… when will we see a Bluetooth version that hooks into an iPhone?

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