Back in college, as a way to make money to pay for tuition (and maybe the odd beer), I used to work a weekend security job on the overnight shift.  One of the biggest issues used to be staying awake all night....which I must now confess, I usually did not.  There was only so much coffee I could drink and after a while, even an espresso was not enough to keep me going.  It turns out that future generations will have a different tool to keep them alert...

Enter Thync, a Silicon Valley startup.  The company has designed a solution that uses a weak electrical current (the technology is called transcranial direct current simulation or tDCS for short) to change the sensitivity of the neurons in your brain....seriously.  The idea is not one that is without its incredible amount of nerdiness, as the founders of Thync have a serious scientific pedigree.

Why on earth would someone want to do this voluntarily?

Well, for starters, Thync believes that an incredible amount of consumers will want this, and not for reasons you may think, actually.  My first thought was that this solution would be for behaviour modification, and this appears to be correct.  Thync mentions how being able to modify the neurons via tDCS would be less harmful than other ways people may do it now, ranging from excessive intake of sugar, alcohol or narcotics.

However, the uses do not stop there.  Thync believes that their solution will in fact help millions of people improve their focus and attention span.  There seems to be quite the market for this, ranging from video game players, to studying students to even the military (who are looking at this to approve the attention of key personnel like pilots).  Today, many of these people are turning to drugs like Adderall, so this would potentially be a way to greatly improve attention without needing to turn to those medications, many of which are illegally obtained.

Will we be seeing this in the stores anytime soon?

Let’s put it this way, I really doubt we will be seeing it in time for the upcoming Holiday shopping season.  Altering the brain's behaviour is something that even the most skilled scientists / doctors have come nowhere close to perfecting.  I can't imagine letting a 16 year old who wants to beat his friend at Halo give it a go.  There are just such huge health and legal issues that will prevent this.  However, this does not mean that this technology may not lead to breakthroughs that will one day be vital to helping many key organizations improve their performance as well as giving doctors the ability to help patients live a better quality of life.

The Bottom line

This technology is easy to sounds like something out of a horror movie when you first hear it.  However, many technology advancements likely received the same reaction when they were in the earliest phases and they have now become vital parts of our everyday life.  When I come across such a technology, I like to use the famous quote from someone that I idolize, Albert Einstein, who once said: "If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it"....