NASA Research Study With ADHD Children

View the following research video to find out how kids playing video games can drastically improve their awareness.

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Dr. Alan Pope

NASA Researcher

"The biofeedback video game concept (patented by NASA) evolved from a physiologically-adaptive simulator system that was developed in NASA flight deck research. With this system, brainwaves controlled the level of automation in a simulator flight deck.

This "closed-loop" testing setup was used to determine what level of automation kept pilots engaged best in the flight task.

It was soon realized that, given enough practice, pilots could probably turn the testing system into a training system; that is, they would learn to control their brainwaves to set the level of automation where they wanted.

This becomes essentially a brainwave biofeedback training situation. It differs from conventional brainwave biofeedback in that the feedback and reward are not explicit on a display, but implicit in the subject's control of the task's difficulty with his brainwaves.

If the flight simulator is replaced with a video game, as it was in the spin-off technology, the system becomes an entertaining way to deliver brainwave biofeedback training.

NASA scientists are encouraged to look for these kinds of spin-offs from their core aerospace research."

Source: Pope, A. T., and Bogart, E. H. Indentification of Hazardous Awareness States of Monitoring Environments.

NASA Patents (NASA Patent #'s 5,377,100 & 6,450,820)

SmartBrain Technologies is the only neurofeedback technology tested, patented and developed at NASA.

Scientists at NASA LaRC researched and developed technologies using physiological measures for assessing sustained attention, engagement, awareness and pilot stress, in laboratory flight simulators. The research found overall improvement in pilots' attention and engagement to task.

Emerging from this NASA research was the recognition that these flight simulators were very similar to a sophisticated video game. NASA conducted additional research at Eastern Virginia Medical School using video game neurofeedback to help improve the attention of children.

As a result, the SmartBrain Technologies invention was born. Very sophisticated technology embedded into the neurofeedback system allows fun and engaging off-the-shelf video game play to help improve attention and learning.

SmartBrain Technologies is a NASA patented 'Spin-Off' turning years of NASA biomedical and scientific research into an effective and fun experience for children and adults.

SmartBrain Technologies and its parent company CyberLearning Technology, LLC are not affiliated with any other company claiming to use NASA Based technology and video games to improve attention. CyberLearning Technology, LLC has an exclusive license from NASA to provide this exciting technology to the public.

Technical Paper:

Excessive sympathetic autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal can interfere with task performance of pilots during flight emergencies. Regular biofeedback training is hard to apply to this problem, because it is very situation-specific and biofeedback signals may distract the pilot from attention to flight tasks. NASA LaRC and Eastern Virginia Medical School developed a Stress Counter-Response Training method where biofeedback is integrated directly into ordinary flight tasks. Training aims at limiting deviations from optimal arousal levels through feedback during repeated stressful events in simulated flight.

With increased sophistication in technology, human performance has increasingly become a limiting factor in aviation safety. Both inattention and stress overload play a substantial role in impairing pilot performance and producing flight hazards. Biofeedback training can foreseeable help reduce the occurrence of these "hazardous states of awareness" by teaching pilots to maintain the necessary physiological conditions for good cognitive and psychomotor performance under the circumstances which are most likely to produce inattention or dysfunctional stress.

SAE Technical Paper No. 921136, SAE 1992 Transactions: Journal of Aerospace, Section 1 - Volume 101, 1993, pp. 449-457.

Challenges of Pilot Stress Counter-Response Training:

  • Stressful events occur infrequently and between their occurrences the physiological functioning and performance of pilots may be normal.
  • Regular biofeedback training is not appropriate.
  • The problem is very situation-specific and hard to generate except in a flight simulator.
  • In flight simulation of high-threat situations it is hard to add biofeedback task to the excessive cognitive demands on the pilot.

Other NASA Research

Counter-Response Training via Physiological Self-Regulation During Flight Simulation:

A new NASA training concept and technology is aimed at training pilots to maintain physiological equilibrium under emergency circumstances in an airplane cockpit.

NASA is working to adapt this concept to a full-scale cockpit simulator in future research and into a training approach for civilian and military professional pilots to reduce flight hazards resulting from impairment of pilot responses in aviation emergencies.

SmartBrain Technologies brings these advanced NASA training concepts into reality today.