People love getting a fix. It’s practically the reason why alcohol and caffeine are among the world’s most heavily consumed commodities. Nowadays, you can get the same kind of fix from a mood-changing headset known as the Thync.
With the use of electrodes, this simple device can easily lift your mood up. It can produce the same energizing effect when you drink a cup of coffee as well as the same relaxing or calming effect when you down an alcoholic drink.
The device was developed by a startup company based in Silicon Valley. According to its CEO, Isy Goldwater, she imagines people wearing the mood-changing headset to help them obtain a caffeine-free pick me up or simply to unwind after a long tiring day. “We are giving people a way to overcome a basic limitation—that no one is really wired to co-opt energy and calm on demand.” He says.
The idea behind the Thync is undeniably amazing. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to feel good in an instant? However, the device may not work for everyone. This is due to the reason that people are not built the same way. About a third of the world’s population just don’t have a strong response. Some people may only feel a tingling when the device starts to make contact with their skin but feel no sense of serenity even after several sessions.
Nonetheless, it would be a great device for people who can actually feel a response. Basically, the headset employs tDCS or transcranial direct current stimulation. This allows the Thync to maintain and deliver a constant low current to the user’s head through a surge of electrodes. As an end result, the electrodes change the activity of neurons in a particular area in the brain. According to studies, this type of approach can help improve a number of cognitive abilities. Due to its range of potential uses, neuroscientists are currently experimenting on its application in the medical field.
Thync is currently the only device aimed to alter the state of mind of healthy people. As mentioned, it uses electric waveforms to target specific cranial nerves to change a person’s mood. When used in a 10-minutes session, the effects of the device can last for up to 45 minutes. As of now, the headset can be operated through a smartphone. With the application installed in the smartphone, the user can control the amount of current as well as the strength of the effect.
The device has been tested on more than 3,000 people. In addition, the company has also funded a study by the City College of New York involving 100 people to test the calming effect of the device. Although the effects varied from one individual to another, the tests showed that the device had indeed improved the user’s mood. “To their credit they have engineered something that, at least in this situation, produced a bigger change,” says Marom Bikson, the biomedical engineering professor who led the study.
To counter the safety concerns involving cognitive enhancing devices, the Thync will only be made available for adults.