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Monthly Archives: January 2013

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After what seems like months hacking around inside the matrix (building PCB’s and writing code) The Zone is ready for public consumption… and by that we mean… its ready to consume YOU!

**Disclaimer: While this installation utilises Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology, we are not able to read, control, or influence your mind/brain in any way. What we mean by ‘consume you’ is ‘take up a lot of your time’… its pretty addictive.

The Zone is a brain-training light installation based on Electroencephalography (EEG) biofeedback. EEG measures the electrical activity of your brain and classifies the patterns of activity into different bandwidths (like radio wave frequencies for different stations). Research has established a link between patterns in these different frequencies and ‘states of mind’, for example – higher beta wave activity (and some others, determined by an algorithm) has been linked to more focus or attention, while higher alpha wave (and some others, determined by an algorithm) has been linked to relaxation and mediation. This is an insanely simplified overview, for some more information on the specific tech we’re using… check this out

http://www.neurosky.com/AboutUs/BrainwaveTechnology.aspx

Biofeedback is the use of electronic monitoring of automatic bodily functions to train someone to acquire voluntary control of that function. Because we can’t see our brain, or feel the work it is doing – like we can with muscles – it is often hard for us to know when we are in a really good state of mind, other than through our emotion, which can be pretty unpredictable and sometimes unrelated to our ACTUAL state of mind.

The Zone allows you to see exactly how your brain is behaving on average at any point in time (albeit at a pretty low resolution) and learn how different kinds of actions / thoughts or ‘things you do’ impact on your state of mind. Think of it like listening to a DJ playing at a club, from outside and across the street. You can hear the basic rhythm of the thudding bass and make a pretty good guess what is being played, but you can’t really hear the detail or the lyrics. The Zone is quite similar, in that we’re listening for different rhythms (frequencies) in your brain’s activity and inferring how attentive or relaxed you are based on this.

The Zone is an experiment in giving you control of your state-of-mind.

Like any new skill, we’re not expecting everyone to get fantastic results on the first go. In fact, we’re expecting some pretty poor / borderline frustrating attempts.

But – that’s why we installed this in the middle of The Edge; so that every time you come in, whether its for a meeting or to smash out some homework, you’re gently reminded to give your brain a bit of a workout.

So… without further ado, here’s your first Brain Training Regime!!!

ARRIVE at The Edge
Head over to The Zone and get comfortable
Set the mode to FOCUS
– Try to light up all the Green lights, from the outside-in and hold them in the centre
– This task feeds back your brain’s average attention level.
You might like to try things like:
Counting backwards from 100
Counting to 200 in 4′s
Focus on one idea or thought and block out all other distractions / senses
Imagine yourself explaining how a car works to an alien, detail all the parts, what you need to run it, how you drive, etc
If you speak another language… try translating live (on the spot) while someone else speaks to you
Try to hold a ‘HIGH’ (within 3 bars of the end) attention level for at least one minute without it dropping
Rest / Repeat as often as you’d like (you don’t have to take the headset off to rest)
GO DO WHATEVER YOU CAME HERE TO DO!
Done for the day? Feeling a little frazzled? GOOD!
JUMP BACK IN!
Set the mode to RELAX
– Try to fade the lights from White to DEEP BLUE
– This task feeds back your brain’s average relaxation level, the state of mind similar to just before you fall asleep, but before you get really sleepy… relaxed basically.
You might like to try:
Deep breathing
Closing your eyes
Trying to block out any ideas or thoughts from entering your mind
Focusing on your senses only, thinking about breathing, thinking about what you can smell (don’t fart! – thats gross and its a small room)
Try to hold the lights down as close to BLUE as you can get them for as long as possible until you notice yourself feeling more relaxed.
You can use it to make the most of your time at The Edge and get ‘in the zone’ (train your attention and focus) before you go about working on your world changing ideas. Then – before you leave – you might like to pop in again, and go back to a state of ‘zen-like-bliss’ (train your relaxation, or meditation) before heading home for the night. After all, no-one likes to take their problems home with them.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how you go with this over the coming months, we’ll be checking in from time to time to make some adjustments and improvements based on your feedback. So…. GET IN THE ZONE!

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