In the coming weeks, a company called Kernel will begin shipping dozens of customers across the United States a $50,000 helmet that can roughly read their minds.
Weighing a few pounds each, the helmets contain nests of sensors and other electronics that measure and analyze the brain’s electrical impulses and blood flow at the speed of thought, providing a window into how the organ responds to the world.
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The basic technology has been around for years, but it’s often found in room-sized machines that can cost millions of dollars and require patients to be seated in a clinical setting.
One of the helmets, the futuristic “Flow,” can record real-time data and “establish precise patterns of brain activity” using lasers, according to the company’s website. All the user needs to do is connect it to a computer via a USB-C cable, explained the brand.
The other helmet, called “Flux,” can measure “the speed of neurons in real time” and provide access “to the intricate brain activity underlying functions such as arousal, emotion, attention, memory and learning,” the company said.
With such an advance, researchers could use data collected by helmets to study brain aging, mental disorders, strokes and even what happens inside the brain during a psychedelic journey. “To progress on all the fronts we need as a society, we have to get our brains online,” said Kernel CEO Bryan Johnson.
The Flow helmet works by sending lasers through the skull to record brain activity, which can measure changes in blood oxygen levels. While Flux uses a process called “magnetoencephalography”, a neuroimaging technique to map brain activity by recording the brain’s magnetic fields.
The first people to receive the helmets include brain research institutions and other companies that want to better understand what’s on their customers’ minds.
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