Update 3/20/2017: The Halo Sport headphone (which conditionally trains your brain and body to become a better athlete) is now on the market and available for $749. If buyers don’t feel like they are seeing desired results the company promises to refund the cost of the product and shipping.
Want to run faster? Jump Faster? Practically become Superman? The Halo Sport headphone will help you do that!
Halo Sport Headphone
These cans will literally shock your brain with electrical pulses that lead to better athletic performance, according to Halo Neuroscience.
How Does It Work?
Primers are attached to the inside of the headband at the location of the motor cortex, which is known for controlling movement. Using a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), “low-voltage pulses of electricity are sent through the headset’s small foam spikes into the brain, and that primes neurons to fire and build new, stronger connections,” explains The Smithsonian. The priming of neurons is referring to the “brain’s plasticity, or its ability to learn and retain skills through forming new neural pathways,” the article continues.
Those neuro-shocks cause the motor cortex to send stronger and more synchronized signals to muscles. This improvement in neuromuscular signaling means athletes, and the weekend warrior, can get more of a workout from their workout. To really break it down, these headphones are going to make your muscle memory stronger. Oh, yeah! Pump that iron!
History & Development
Co-founder David Chao detailed some of his work and reasoning behind the Halo Sport headphone in Tech Crunch. In his writing, Chao cites the use of electric pulses to treat headaches and other maladies date back to the first century with Roman physician Scribonius Largus. He used electric torpedo fish to treat headaches. In 2013, Chao was studying the effects of electric pulses on epileptics. However, he wanted to find a process that did not involve the implantation of electrical nodes in the brain. Taking a few notes from transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCS), which involves placing a magnetic coil over the scalp to induce an electrical current in the brain, Chao gave rise to the Halo Sport.
Tests & Results
According to Chao, a study on learning and memory found that participants using tDCS were able to master new piano chords 40 percent faster than their control group – which meant they were showing accelerated motor skills learning. Testing on cross fit athletes found those who trained with tDCS for two weeks were able to lift five percent more weight across all lower-body-focused sets during training. Additional studies found athletes who paired tDCS with training achieved 12 percent gains in “explosiveness.”
Is it Safe?
John Krakauer, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, remains skeptical thanks to the unknown long-term effects of the process “I’m not saying the whole thing is a crock,” he defends. “But it may not be doing what we think it’s doing.”
“Would you want your kid wearing this during tennis practice with no idea of the long-term consequences?” he adds.
However, Chao says the Halo Sport headphone is safe and is looking to market the product to trained athletes and the casual gym-goer, alike. Chao writes, “For weekend warriors who start to track accelerated gains in skill and strength after using neurostimulation, tDCS devices could become as commonplace as step counters.” The headphones are slated to ship in the Fall.
Imagine that?! However, at a cost of $750, I’m not so sure. Regardless, Chao stands by his product, further divulging his fiscal predictions for the Halo sport headphone and reminding us exactly why. “The addressable market for neurostimulation could reach $10 billion. Sports, fitness and medicine are already huge industries, but the potential for improved learning touches every aspect of our lives. From remembering names at a dinner party to becoming fluent in a new language, everyone wishes they could learn a little faster.”
That being said, anyone else looking forward to the possibility of a Herculean feat becoming an everyday activity?