Levitation Toys Really Test Brain Power

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Remember playing with dolls or action figures, using your imagination to create fantastic worlds in your own bedroom?

New toys due out later this year also use the power of the mind -– but these playthings are actually controlled by brain waves.

With both Mattel's "Mind Flex" and Uncle Milton's "The Force Trainer," the goal is to focus your thoughts in order to levitate a ball. There are no blinking lights or 3-D graphics -– just a wireless headset, a lightweight ball and a fan.

Both toys use a modified form of electroencephalography — or EEG — technology to measure electrical signals emitted by the brain, says Jim Sullivan of NeuroSky, the company that created the technology that makes the toys work.

The signals are applied to algorithms that were developed by researchers after careful study of people in various states of attention, Sullivan says. With the right focus, the signals trigger a fan. The harder the player concentrates, the stronger the fan blows — and the higher the ball elevates.

Both toys will be priced somewhere in the $80 to $100 range.



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