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When wearable tech makes you smarter -- by zapping your brain

The Focus headset for gamers uses trace amounts of electrical current to stimulate the prefrontal cortex, producing positive short-term effects in playing ability. Wearable tech can track your sleep patterns, give you walking directions that float above your eye, and measure your heart rate using the shirt on your back. But can a wearable gadget make you think faster, or even make you momentarily smarter? Turns out, it can. But only by attaching electrodes to your head that shock your brain, which is the how devices like the Focus headset work. The Focus is designed for gamers --- only if you're 18 years old, or older -- and made headlines in May when its Web site opened for preorders. The Focus marks the first device of its kind, and it could bring what is now a cutting-edge enthusiast activity into the mainstream. The unknown, however, is just how safe it might be to clamp this type of device to your head on a daily basis. So far, scientists have tested the technology, but mainly to figure out if it's effective. And creating a mass consumer product of this sort raises whole new concerns. The medical community remains wary, and the Focus headset may force an answer that dictates the future of consumer enhancement products.

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10 Aug
SmartTypes @SmartTypes
"I am concerned about the safety of allowing brain stimulation devices loose on the public." http://t.co/Z14V5fj1Pd via @IR_Melbourne