Play Attention in the News

Please note that some of the older articles reference older helmet technology that has been replaced with BodyWave® technology.

Outside the Head Thinking: A Novel Approach for Detecting Human Brain Cognition
Researcher: Insoo Kim, Samsung Research America, Richardson, TX, USA
We are proud to reveal that our sister company, Freer Logic, who develops BodyWave technology, has been secretly working with the Korean electronics giant, Samsung. Dr. Insoo Kim, head of Samsung Research America, and his colleagues, performed validation studies on BodyWave pitted against a clinical 8 channel EEG device. The tests examined the correlation between attention and relaxation between both instruments. The 8 channel EEG device correlated with a score of 91% using all eight channels. The BodyWave device scored 84% using a single channel on the low forearm away from the brain! Even more significantly, when he 8 channel device was examined channel by channel, it ranged from 84% to 89%; exactly what BodyWave technology scored far away from the brain! The researchers state that, “…our results illustrate the considerable potential of this technology.”

The journal Pediatrics (PEDIATRICS Volume 133,  Number 3,  March 2014)
This peer reviewed journal discusses a six month follow up review of a study performed on Play Attention by the prestigious  Tufts School of Medicine in the Boston Public Schools. Play Attention is termed “Neurofeedback” in the article. The researchers found that, ” Neurofeedback  participants made more prompt and greater improvements in ADHD symptoms, which were sustained at the 6-month follow-up, than did CT participants or those in the control group. This finding suggests that neurofeedback is a promising attention training treatment for children with ADHD.”

Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics – January 2014
This peer reviewed journal article reviews the randomized clinically controlled study of Play Attention completed by Tufts School of Medicine in the Boston Public Schools.  The results are very impressive and validate Play Attention’s efficacy.

Students enrolled were randomly selected to participate in either Play Attention (referred to in study as Neurofeedback or NF); or a computer based cognitive training system (referred to as CT); or no intervention. 

Results:  Parents of children who received Play Attention (NF) training reported significant improvements in attention and executive functioning. Parents of children who received cognitive training (CT) did not report significant improvements compared to those in the control condition.

The parent-reported improvements of participants in the Play Attention (NF) condition on the learning problems subscale might reflect important generalization of skills to the academic setting. It is noteworthy that parents of children in the Play Attention (NF) condition did not seek an increase in their children’s stimulant medication dosage, although these children experienced the same physical growth and increased school demands as their CT and control peers. Stimulant medication dosage in methylphenidate equivalencies significantly increased for children in the CT and control conditions.

NASA Spinoff Magazine – 2013
The inspiration for this attention-training game, one of many specialized software programs available under the company’s Play Attention educational product line, began with NASA Langley Research Center scientist Alan Pope’s research in the late 1980s on pilots and automated flight systems.

Time Magazine – 11/14/2011
Not long ago, a manager at the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) nuclear plant outside Toronto was completing a routine drill. The manager had to demonstrate that he could accurately instruct a computer to open and close a series of simulated valves–valves crucial to controlling the water and pressure that keep radioactive material contained. But this particular demonstration was unusual, since Lanzanin was operating the valves with his mind. He never touched a keyboard. And when his brain was focused enough to tell the valves onscreen to open or close, they obeyed.

Popular Science – January 2011
The system is currently being used to help kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and has been adopted as a virtual reality training tool in nuclear power plants.Play Attention Article from January 2011 Popular Science

The Press Republican – 06/20/2012
A dolphin slowly descended to the sea floor. It swam past brightly hued aquatic plants and animals.The dolphin’s goal was to collect as many gold coins as possible. The catalyst was Mary Lou Gould’s laser focus on a dolphin icon. With a BodyWave, an iPod-size EEG sensor strapped to her arm, Gould’s concentration, or lack of, was tracked on a laptop. “The first time I came in, I had no idea what it would be like,” Gould said. “It’s amazing. It almost seems like magic. Any of the games will not start unless it has your complete, undivided focus.” North Carolina resident and inventor Peter Freer gifted the BodyWave and laptop to Lake Forest Senior Living Community, where his in-laws reside.

The Journal Times – 11/01/2011
Twelve-year-old Nikolas Hufen can control computer games with his mind.  Without touching the mouse or keyboard, Nikolas last Wednesday started a computer game and got objects on the screen to light up.  Nikolas, of Racine, was able to do so because of a portable EEG device strapped to his arm and connected to the computer by Bluetooth. The EEG measured Nikolas’s brain waves and when they showed focus and concentration, the game became active. In some cases his brain waves actually made characters on the screen move.

Huffington Post Canada – 11/17/2011
Its most commonplace use, however, is BodyWave’s ability to help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Freer formed a company called Play Attention to put this technology to work, designing games and activities that help children see when they’re focusing and when they are not — the games literally will not work unless they put their minds to it. It also is geared toward adults who wants to participate in ‘brain training’ games to assist with concentration and even memory.

Globe and Mail – 11/18/2011
The technology is the brainchild of Peter Freer, a North Carolina elementary-school teacher frustrated by stymied efforts to help students with ADD. It took 11 years and three jobs for him to scrape together enough cash to create a prototype for an educational program called PlayAttention. Mr. Freer was testing the technology on the U.S. bobsled team, with the same focus-boosting aim, when Mr. Templeton cold-called him. Could Mr. Freer whip up something like that for nuclear-plant operators?

Psychology Today – 07/28/2010
To meet Julian’s short-term attention needs, a physician prescribed medications to help him focus. For his long-term attention needs, we placed him on “Play Attention TM,” a computer-based attention training system that has been educationally proven to help children develop ther ability to focus, and reduce impulvity. We also included learning style training to help him harness his natural style of learning, and parent training to reinforce the behavioral changes we agreed upon. In all, Julian began to better understand how ADHD was impacting his life, learned how to better manage the challenges related to the disorder, and developed his ability to focus.

Daily Mail – 01/11/2010
The news will infuriate millions of parents who have children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A new British study has proved that children suffering from the behavioural disorder can control their symptoms – simply by learning self-discipline. Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Psychology in Hatfield have been studying the effects of a thought-controlled computer game that requires the player to concentrate in order to win.

Science Daily – 01/11/2010
The system involves the child playing a fun educational computer game while wearing a helmet similar to a bicycle helmet. The helmet picks up their brain activity in the form of EEG waves related to attention. As long as the child concentrates they control the games, but as soon as their attention waivers the game stops.

The Medical News – 01/07/2010
“A new thought-operated computer system which can reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children will be rolled out across the UK this month. Professor Karen Pine at the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Psychology and assistant Farjana Nasrin investigated the effects of EEG (Electroencephalography) biofeedback, a learning strategy that detects brain waves, on ten children with an attention deficit from Hertfordshire schools”

WebMD – 01/08/2010
“Children with ADHD have trouble controlling impulsive behaviour; now software designers have come up with a game that forces a child to concentrate to keep playing – which helps to train the brain to control impulses while having fun. Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Psychology have been testing the game called Play Attention which uses EEG (Electroencephalography) biofeedback by detecting brain waves. The developers say it uses NASA technology to help make your mind become the mouse, and that it is already in use in 450 US schools.”

ADDitude – 01/10/2010
“Researchers in the UK have been testing a thought-operated computer system to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. The system, called Play Attention, involves the child playing a fun, educational computer game while wearing a helmet. The helmet picks up brain activity in the form of EEG waves related to attention. As long as the child concentrates they control the game — as soon as their attention waivers the game stops.”

Delta Sky Magazine – 11/2007
“Play Attention made sense to me,” says Morrison, who’d consulted with numerous doctors and tried various treatments and mental exercises for her own son Jack, who was the same age as Bobby and suffering from ADHD. “…It’s like having a weak muscle in your body and they send you to physical therapy and you gradually strengthen that muscle.”

Up & Atom
During his first few years of teaching, Asheville resident Peter Freer ’86 MAEd ’93 met a young boy named John who became the inspiration behind a technology that would eventually lead Freer to speak to a United Nations agency.
John had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, then called “minimal brain dysfunction,” and was highly disruptive in class. Freer wasnt sure how to handle John in the classroom because he had never before encountered a student with the disorder….

Little Rock Family
Andy plays games on a computer without ever touching the keyboard or the mouse. He dons a helmet, and with hands and fingers motionless, he flies a jet over mountain tops or constructs a tower by moving blocks.  Should he fidget or lapse in concentration, he loses control over the characters on the screen.

Sun Sentinel
Thanks to Play Attention, Jordan is controlling the impulse, curbing his fidgeting and focusing his attention better these days. “He’s gained more ability to focus on tasks he didn’t want to do,” says his mother, Jeri. “He has skills he can call upon now. He learned coping mechanisms that work for him.”

Parents and teachers commonly encourage children to “pay attention.” But what does pay attention mean? What does it physically feel like? When you instruct a child to pay attention, typically their perception is that they are already paying attention!

“Charles” is a student diagnosed with Autism and is presently in a self-contained classroom for children with Autism. His brother is diagnosed with AD/HD. Charles’ parents were considering Play Attention for his brother and inquired if Charles might benefit from the program. Because of my previous use of Play Attention, I knew it was possible to increase his ability to attend and decrease his impulsive behaviors.

Woman’s World
Before Play Attention, he couldn’t sit still for more that a few minutes. Now Brody’s free to be the happy little boy he was meant to be….

Investor’s Business Daily
Imagine a video game where you can move the on-screen character with your mind. Could it get any better than that? Yes, its also good for you….

Boston Globe
Two years ago, Brody Bowen was out of control. Impulsive, intense, inexhaustible, the 5-year-old boy would fling himself off the back porch, burn himself, slap his baby brother.

Associated Press
Watching a whale on a computer screen has helped 8-year-old Ricky Stone, who suffers from autism and learning disabilities, and his mother live more normal lives…

National Poll Results on Educating ADD / ADHD Students
Superintendents, teachers, and central office administrators are not trained to teach ADHD students. The needs of ADHD students are not accommodated…

Berkeley Medical Journal
Alan Pope, a behavioral scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, came up with a more engaging approach through work with NASA flight simulators.

T.H.E. Journal
With a little help, students with attention difficulties can learn to concentrate in school. Play Attention is a school-based system that combines tested teaching methods and proven technology to help students improve attention skills and reduce behavior problems…

Washington Post
But they aren’t video games. Simple in color and strategy, these games adjust the attention level, pace and stamina that kids need for classroom work, such as listening to a teacher or writing with paper and pencil…

Closing The Gap
A new computer system that lets users control a computer with mind power alone is helping students with attention problems learn to focus and control restless behavior…

Intervention in School and Clinic
He realized that educators have very few resources to accommodate the needs of children and adults who have attentional difficulties. Recent studies state these characteristics are ascribed to 5-10% of this nation’s school-aged children and 3-5% of all adults…

The McDowell News
“Students with difficulty staying focused and keeping track of schoolwork have made noticeable progress, showed more confidence, interest, and class participation since they have been on the program,”…

The Christian Classroom
A lower elementary classroom is the perfect setting for numerous teaching aids. Young learners explore through sight, sound and touch. There are many wonderful teaching aids available today, and The Christian Classroom reviewed some of them so you could spend your time with your students. When you feel like your teaching has lost its zip, try a new teaching aid and rediscover your students’ enthusiasm.

The Journal of Special Education Technology
Increasing student time on-task and reducing impulsive behavior is a full-time job for most special educators. Students’ self-esteem is often the last thing receiving any attention in the classroom. Play Attention (2000), a recently released computer-based learning system, is designed to target improvement in all three areas. Based on attention-training techniques similar to those developed for NASA and U.S. Air Force pilots, Play Attention measures students’ brain waves and provides feedback to the students in an entertaining, video game-like format.

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