Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Mind Games

A cool new technology lets you control your computer with your brain waves and relax your mind, too.

By Jaimal Yogis

Andrew Junker, an electrical engineer and neurophysiologist, likes to play video games with a yogic twist. Instead of tapping a keyboard, he's invented a way to use his brain waves to control the characters. His favorite is a skateboarding game programmed so the more relaxed Junker gets, the faster the skater goes. "It's counterintuitive," says Junker, a former Air Force researcher who now teaches yoga. "It's fun to try to do something by not trying at all—and then take that insight to the mat."

If this sounds like a weird science fiction film, welcome to Cyberlink Brainfingers (www.brainfingers.com). Junker's invention is a machine that sends voltage from your brain into your computer and, with special software, enables you to use it without raising a finger.

The Matrix—esque technology is in its early stages, but studies funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the machine can be useful for people who are locked inside their bodies and couldn't otherwise communicate. Junker says the software isn't fast enough to replace the traditional computer model for people whose limbs work fine. But he does think it's an excellent tool for yogis who want to master their mind—body connection. "I developed this machine as a window into myself," Junker says. "It's science, but it's also yoga."

To use it, you strap a highly sensitive band around your head. It's connected to a voltage magnification box, which in turn is connected to the computer. The band reads the energy emanating from your forehead, created by neurons firing in your brain. That voltage is magnified 2 million times. With Cyberlink software, the computer learns to read your brain wave frequencies, and you can program it to respond in specific ways to specific frequencies. For example, you might move your mouse upward by concentrating hard (generating beta waves), and move it downward by relaxing (alpha waves).

It takes practice to master the Cyberlink system, but it's a fun yogic challenge. And while you try, you can track just how relaxed your mind is on the alpha—beta brain wave graph built into the software.

Who knows? Eventually, a yoga teacher might be able to read alpha waves on a BlackBerry during class and see who's really relaxing in Savasana.

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Add a Comment »

Your Name:

Comment:

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
sd14 San Diego
Sheraton San Diego
July 10-14, 2014
Register
2014 new york live New York
Hilton New York
April 24-28, 2014
Register

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions