The netizens have turned against a Chinese American startup after discovering that children have been wearing their brain-reading headbands at school.
What is BrainCo?
A fairly new startup, BrainCo Inc., has developed a unique medical headband. The headband, known as the Focus 1, monitors concentration through built-in electroencephalogram (EEG) scanners that read and translate brain signals.
BrainCo tested their innovative device on 10,000 children in January, this year. The children ranged from ages 10 to 17 at an unidentified school in China.
It is also known that the company has officially agreed to provide 20,000 headbands to a local distributor. This hints towards a further rollout.
“Our goal with the first 20,000 devices, each of which will be used by multiple students in schools, is to capture data from 1.2 million people,” says Bicheng Han, Founder and Chief Executive Officer – BrainCo.
How does it work?
The headband records students’ attention which is monitored by the teachers through an app. Furthermore, there are lights on the device which allow for an instant survey of their concentration levels.
Blue indicates relaxed; yellow indicates focused; and finally, red indicates very focused.
Since the device monitors the concentration levels, it could be used for various other purposes. For starters, the recorded data from the headbands can help build games that increase focus.
Inaccurate Recordings can be harmful
The initiative presents an extremely effective and precise approach towards the betterment of children’s concentration towards academics. However, critics including neuroscientists and psychologists have since questioned the effectiveness of the technology. The point of the argument is the highly probable natural variation in neurological activity. Due to the abnormal variations, the results can lead to incorrect assumptions.
In response to the recent backlash, BrainCo issued a statement on April 5 reiterating that the headbands aim to improve learning efficiency and that they have not been sold to public schools.
Interestingly, several companies in the country have already been using mind-reading helmets that supposedly measure emotional states and boost productivity levels.