By: JACK M.
The technologies are called Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), and while their original uses were to aid in the recovery from serious conditions such as stroke and depression, and in the treatment of pain – and that is still their main focus today – they are now being used to alter, improve and control mood. The California-based start-up company, Thync, is marketing a small, easy-to-use device that you strap to your forehead, and the company claims that it can change your mood. Within a few minutes it can transform you from tense and uptight to calm and zen-like, or maybe the other way around – from lethargic and listless to energetic and creative.
Thync’s product comes with a user guide, but in somewhat simplistic terms, this is how it works: There are two “mood components” – one energy-inducing and one calm-inducing – and a “central module” that come with the purchase. The white attachment in the image above is the “central module”; it contains a built-in battery and the circuitry that generates low-level electrical impulses that are picked up by the brain, which in turn do their magic. Depending on whether you want an energy-inducing or a calm-inducing experience – what Thync calls Vibes – you attach the appropriate “mood component” either just behind your ear or to the back of your neck. Both the “central module” and the “mood component” attach using adhesive strips. And then there’s what may be the most fun part of the whole experience – it’s controlled via Bluetooth connectivity and an app that you download to your mobile device. You just select the required mood and technology does the rest.
Thync has two “mood components” – one energy-inducing and one calm-inducing – and a “central module” (the white piece in the centre) that come with the purchase.
And it’s all controlled via Bluetooth and an app that you download to your mobile device. You just select the required mood and technology does the rest.
So, if you need to wind down after an hour-and-a-half of crawling your way through the rush-hour traffic on a Friday evening, or maybe you’ve just spent the afternoon haggling unsuccessfully to get the boss to give you that raise that she promised you two years ago, you could find yourself a quiet and comfy place where you can slip into your PJs, slip on your ear buds and wriggle yourself into that weird yoga pose that you paid big bucks to your meditation coach to show you, and wait patiently for your blood pressure to creep its way out of the red zone. Or…you could just slap on Thync’s self-adhesive pad to your forehead, and voila – you’re drifting peacefully into a place of effortless serenity and slowly giving the world the middle finger.
Or maybe it’s a Sunday afternoon and you haven’t even opened up Microsoft Word to get that report ready for the boss by nine o’clock Monday morning. The chances of getting that pay raise that she promised two years ago are looking about as likely as you finding an alternative solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem. You can’t muster up enough energy to even think of a title for the report. What to do? Getting your hands on a couple of your hyper nephew’s Ritalin just doesn’t feel right, so you get your useless ass over to Starbucks and wolf down a couple of giga-sized double chocolate chip crème Frappuccinos and wait for the inevitable caffeine-and-sugar-induced jolt to kick in. Or…you could slap on that same Thync pad and wait for your inner Ernest Hemingway to take over your mummified brain like some out-of-control alien body snatcher. You’re already thinking of ways to spend that pay raise.
Okay, maybe I’m being just a bit dramatic. Maybe hyperbole has momentarily got the better of me. But if the good reviews and press coverage of Thync’s wonder gizmo even smack of a dollop of veracity, I just might break into my own piggy bank and shell out the couple of hundred dollars asking price. There are lots of reviews available, but you can check out a few here, here and here.