Brain Machine Review

Brain Machine

I made one of these widgets for Ryan a couple months ago, but unfortunately didn't have any time to play with it myself before shipping it off.

After a winter break of back-of-the-mind curiosity, I finally caved in and bought a kit for myself.

Here are some notes on my experiences with it.

What is it?

The brain machine consists of two LED's that rapidly flash into your eyes and an apparatus that plays binaural beats through headphones. It claims to

Relax and rejuvenate as your brain synchronizes to a wonderful meditative state, and enjoy as you hallucinate beautiful colors and patterns from your subconscious mind!

Although the claims bring to mind the days of the snake oil salesman, the machine is actually mildly entertaining. According to the build page, the program in the chip lasts for 14 minutes. Here's a brief narrative of my 14 minute experience:

Glasses on. So here I am, typing this out while this thing flashes in my face.The first thing you notice is how annoying the sound is, but it works in keeping out most, if not all, outside noise, which I assume helps you focus. Every minute or so, the tone of the sound and the frequency of flashing changes. What I see is akin to the sensations when you press your fingers gently against your closed eyes, but without the feeling of physical discomfort. The flashing causes red and blue checkerboards that quickly alternate. To focus on the visual sensation is a little fatiguing, so after awhile you notice that you start to zone out so much that you don't even realize that there are colors t all. And I think that's when you start to relax the most. But so far, nothing revelatory. Just feeling a little disconnected from the world, with the only thing tying me here the sensation of the keys against my fingertips.  Turned off the machine. I hear strange artifacts like the sound of a garbled bubbling. This lasts about 10-20 seconds, but then everything's back to normal. Glasses off.

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