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Games Technology

A 9V Battery To Your Brain Can Improve Your Gaming 167

autospa writes with an intriguing story found at Nature about direct electrical stimulation's effect on the brain. By applying low levels of electrical current to different parts of the brain via electrodes placed on the scalp, University of New Mexico researchers claim to have documented some significant changes in brain activity, which vary depending on the part of the brain targeted. Gamers, take note: in one experiment in which volunteers were recorded while playing a video war game, "those receiving 2 milliamps to the scalp (about one-five-hundredth the amount drawn by a 100-watt light bulb) showed twice as much improvement in the game after a short amount of training as those receiving one-twentieth the amount of current." The idea of affecting the brain by electric stimulation isn't new; but the battery-powered, non-invasive variety naturally leads some people to consider rolling their own.
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A 9V Battery To Your Brain Can Improve Your Gaming

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  • Cancer! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2011 @01:05PM (#35848644)

    Just wait. In a few years there will be another study that suggests that this causes cancer.

  • Hackers! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Memroid ( 898199 ) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:06PM (#35849040)
    I wonder when the 9V bug/feature will be added for the Valve Anti-Cheat System..
  • Re:It's all fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by derGoldstein ( 1494129 ) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:14PM (#35849092) Homepage
    Another analogy is passing current through frog legs. You can see the effect, and deduce that there's a correlation between the current and the resulting motion, but it doesn't mean you know why or what the underlying mechanism is.

    If anything, this seems quite hazardous. Our bodies are designed (ahem -- naturally selected) to defend themselves from much of what's found in nature, which probably doesn't include running even very small amounts of current through our brains. The fact that the brain is encased in a solid shell in mammals should give an idea of how vulnerable it really is. This experiment bypasses that defense and introduces stimuli that you almost certainly won't find in nature. We already know that introducing a tiny amount of arsenic into the bloodstream will kill most (almost all) living things, so we're weary of chemical experimentation, but we haven't been messing around with the brain long enough to know what the effects of electrical stimulation will be.

    It could induce brain cancer for all we know. I personally wouldn't go volunteering for this type of experimentation.
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:14PM (#35849966)
    Nope, but the U.S. bias was in assuming the 100W bulb was connected to 110-120VAC mains, instead of the planet's more common 220-240VAC mains

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.