NASA, Video Games and the Force Within

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NASA, Video Games and the Force Within

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Use of Off-the-shelf PlayStation, XBox, PC videogames modulated by brain activity improving cognitive issues like ADHD, LD, Autism, affects of Aging.

About You
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Your idea
Year work began:

2002

Focus of activity

Technology

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Project URL (include HTTP://)
Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Narrow Corporate or Public Policy Mission

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Cognitive Fitness

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

This field has not been completed

Innovation
What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

Use of Off-the-shelf PlayStation, XBox, PC videogames modulated by brain activity improving cognitive issues like ADHD, LD, Autism, affects of Aging.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Our technology uses already proven consumer video games in place of developing expensive game content. This low cost, award winning, NASA Neurofeedback technology measures brain activity in an engaging, immersive way and sends signals to the game controller interface, i.e., joystick, modulating the action potential. In a race car game for example, the speed of the car is dependent upon the type of brain activity being produced. Steering control will be lost if the player becomes over-aroused or stressed in the competition of the game. Our technology can be used directly by consumers at home to improve cognition and it is also used by schools and medical providers treating conditions like ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism and Brain Injuries, etc. A major differentiation is the actual conditioning of the brain's neural network through direct feedback of brain activity rather than the more typical 'external physical therapy' like the practicing effect of games like "Brain Age".

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

There are a number of existing barriers that our technology overcomes by focusing on greater simplicity, lower cost, and enhanced convenience of service delivery. The use of proven, entertaining commercial videogames coupled with our neurofeedback system creates an unmatched brain training tool. Videogames increase the entertainment value creating greater compliance of use. Our SmartBrain technology can be used in a home environment significantly increasing convenience while lowering the cost.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

Our delivery model is based on a unique cross channel design. We sell our SmartBrain neurofeedback technology to medical and educational professionals and direct to the consumer. Professionals use our technology in offices and schools providing supervision for its use treating medical and learning disorders. Our inexpensive consumer system is available for use at home and can be taken to a professional at anytime for supervision. Professionals and institutions using other neurofeedback systems with simplistic graphics charge $4,000-$8,000 for 40-60 in office training sessions. Using off-the-shelf videogames creates high compliance of use and provides the professional or parents the ability to conduct a more cost effective home training. Clinically supervised training can take place at home completing close to 100 trainings at half the cost of in-office services. Compensation to the professional is dramatically increased while consumers achieve greater results more quickly.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

Leveraging the NASA brand in PR and conferences has lead to national/international exposure driving traffic/sales to our web site. Consumers can purchase our technology for general 'peak performance' cognitive benefits or seek professional supervision for medical/learning disorders at any time. As more consumers seek out our technology, it drives the demand for professional support. As more professionals use our technology it drives the demand for consumer sales. This circular demand for the SmartBrain Technology continues to drive sales for all target markets. Increasing numbers of research projects using our technology are underway including an SBIR with the military, US Dept of Education, Juvenile Justice System and NIMH research. Hospitals and residential treatment programs have implemented programs and learning centers/schools are using the SmartBrain system as a part of special ed. learning programs which continues to 'spread the word '.

Impact
Provide one sentence describing your impact.

We make 'Brain Training' and improving cognitive performance as easy and fun as playing a videogame making videogames 'good for you'.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Thousands of individuals suffering from ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism and Mild Brain Injury experience significant benefits using our SmartBrain technology. The cost reduction, compliance of using videogames and convenience of home training has already opened the door to those who could not afford the traditional high cost, intense in office service of traditional neurofeedback. SmartBrain Technologies has created opportunities never available before in 'Cognitive Brain Training'. Our target markets begins at about the age of 6 and extends into adulthood with no age limit. Published research in the field of neurofeedback has demonstrated that neurofeedback is as effective as stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD. Coupling neurofeedback to videogames provides a more effective tool. Kids with ADHD who could not tolerate meds, kids with motor tics, autism and mild brain injury are now improving dramatically playing PlayStation and XBox games with our neurofeedback.

How many people have you served directly?

Our company has maintained research test beds for clinical testing of our technology in clinic and supervised home settings both on East and West Coasts. More than 500 families have been directly served using our technology in this manner since 2004. Additionally, we have sold over than 2,000 devices directly to consumers with our consumer based 'Learning System' since its availability in 2005. We also sell to a professional community of clinical and educational providers who offer technology and direct services using the SmartBrain Technology to their clients and students. Our technology has been available to the international market for almost one year and we are now servicing professionals and consumers in many countries. As the SmartBrain Technology is completely configurable to treat any appropriate diagnosed condition, professionals are able to serve very diverse populations and ages.

How many people have you served indirectly?

We directly serve over 200 medical professionals, institutions and educational facilities who use our technology directly with their clients in-office settings and in home training. We estimate that at least 50,000 of their clients have already benefited from our technology.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

Many families with children struggling with attention and learning choose to limit or eliminate videogame play in their homes. When parents learn that their child can have fun playing their favorite videogames and it improves their attention and school performance, everyone gets excited! Many families that prohibited videogame play have purchased game systems to use with our technology. What a great win-win solution-improving cognitive performance and having fun playing games at the same time!

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

As a company that has self funded its development to date, the main barrier to creating our impact has been limited financial resources. Through outreach to investment funds, that barrier will be eliminated.

Sustainability
How is your initiative financed?

The development has been self-funded to date.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

Our company has been developed as a lean, virtual organization. We have 3 full-time staff members, 3 consultants and have developed and maintained a trusted relationship with off-shore engineering and manufacturing of our technology.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

Our technology serves markets of health, entertainment, learning/education. Our initial focus is the attention and learning market for school aged children. ADHD affects 10% of school-aged children/ adolescents and another 4-8% of US adults. The market for ADHD-related pharmaceuticals and behavioral therapies is $15 billion a year in the U.S. Also, 14% of the school-aged population, over 700,000 students, is hampered by a learning disability. Neurofeedback improves attention and learning.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Our company has been self-funded and has run a positive cash flow from inception. In order to realize the potential of the marketplace increased capital investment is warranted for marketing, sales, promotional outreach, public relations, staffing and continued technology development. We are currently in development of our 2nd generation technology creating a true plug and play device building on the our experiences in the marketplace.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

The founder of the company, Domenic Greco, Ph.D. has been in the field of clinical delivery of biofeedback/neurofeedback services since 1982. He learned about the innovative work with videogame neurofeedback being conducted at NASA Langley by Alan Pope and his associates in 1999. NASA researched the attention and engagement of pilots to flight deck operations and found that the more automated flight operations became, the less attentive pilots were to flight deck operations. The research lead to the development of an 'Engagement Index' and the training of this Index to improve cognitive workload. Dr. Pope reasoned that if this training improved cognition and attention in pilots using sophisticated flight simulators, maybe it could help kids with attention and learning problems using videogames in place of flight simulators. After NASA sponsored and completed a comparative research study of the benefits of videogame Neurofeedback to standard Neurofeedback at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Dr. Greco was even more intrigued with the possibilities. With years of direct clinical service, Dr. Greco saw the NASA videogame technology as a way of effectively filling in the gaps of cost and convenience for the delivery of Neurofeedback services. In 2001, Dr. Greco was awarded exclusive rights to the NASA patents and developed the hardware/software after careful clinical testing. Our first professional technology was available in 2003 followed by our SmartBrain Consumer system in 200

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Domenic Greco, Ph.D. has been delivering Biofeedback and EEG Neurofeedback since 1982. He has successfully developed and operated centers specializing in Biofeedback for stress related disorders, and EEG Neurofeedback for ADHD/LD on both the East and West coasts. Dr. Greco is an innovator in the ADHD field and has operated some of the largest ADHD, Neurofeedback centers in the country. He has lectured nationally, appeared before NIMH, and consulted with J&J as an expert in Neurofeedback.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

After speaking at the Games for Health Conference I was approached by a member of RWJ who informed us of Changemakers and the competition.