Pure Nintendo impressions: Foc.us headset
Foc.us is a new headset technology that claims to over-clock one’s brain by using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Still debatable about its affectivness, and let us be honest, the overall safety of tDCS, Foc.us promises to give gamers an edge into dominance. I was lucky enough to receive the Foc.us headset to try.
Now, let me get to the real question. Is it safe? Maybe, there has been strong debate about the effectiveness and safety of tDCS. I have done some crazy things to my body, but when it comes to the brain, I am very protective. A body can be fixed, and at times even replaced, but damage to a brain is never fully fixed. So, one could say I had some worries of going Victor Frankenstein on my mind. The headset offers an adjustable electrical range from .1 mA (milliamps) to 2 mA DC. In comparison, it’s said that 100 – 200 mA is the threshold for the human body before it goes into fibrillation. The Foc.us charge is low enough where it shouldn’t cause any immediate damage. The key word in the last sentence is “immediate.” Much like the prolonged use of 3D, the jury is still out on how a long-term use of a technology like this would affect a human body. Foc.us does a nice job safe guarding against any extensive use.
Users can control the headset through an iOS and soon to be released Andriod app. The app allows users to adjust the mA from .5 to 2 mA, for a time no longer than 40 minutes. The App also offers six different setting to help produce the results one is looking for. These settings, with a little research about them, are supposed to produce different results.
My experience with Foc.us was mixed. Setting up the headset is not intuitive. The booklet was some help but still leaves you holding the device in wonder. After a helpful YouTube video, I finally had the headset setup and synced to my iOS device.
I played around with the headset for about a week and it is really hard to figure out how well it works. Was my brain really performing better or was it a placebo? The idea of Foc.us isn’t to use it all the time. The effects of one session should be enough to last a couple of hours. But was my brain working overtime?
My very first experience brought up the most interesting results. I decided to let the headset run on the default, a constant flow of 1 mA for 10 mins, to see how I felt playing Sonic Lost World. I have to admit, after getting over the slight burning feeling, (no real burning) I had a pretty productive play session. Actually, one of my best with the game. I was bouncing around, reacting perfectly, and flowing through levels…then I died. Upon looking down at my iPhone, I realized that my 10-min time was over. Again, I am not saying this is 100% proof that the device worked. It’s just an interesting experience. For the next couple hours my brain did have a weird sensation like it was “jump started.” Once again, it is extremely hard to decipher if my brain really was working efficiently, but after a long 14-hour day, I did feel decently well and decided to do some house cleaning.
I am not a doctor; I can’t tell you if this technology really works. All I can say, I am alive, and my experience was full of hope for this product. The tDCS technology isn’t new but something we should keep an eye on as it finds its way into gaming.