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ADD/ADHD News

February 14th 2001 - 17:00 GMT

NASA Technology To Help ADDers?

Important Development - 1st September 2001
Click here to read this before investigating the Attention Trainer™ Further


The Attention Trainer™

Technology used by NASA for pilot training to help them concentrate better has been developed by East3 Ltd., into a system to help children with ADD/ADHD focus better. It is also used by Olympic athletes to assist with the mental aspects of their training in order to gain peak performance.

The Attention Trainer™ by East3 now allows that same space age technology to be used in the home. It uses a wireless headset and a base station which connects to your PC. Specially designed video games provide feedback to the base station, that according to the makers, enables children to improve their long-term ability to concentrate.

According to East3, "The Attention Trainer is not just another video game," remarks Jeff Segal, Chief Technology Officer at East3. "It's a fun learning tool that teaches kids how to develop concentration skills."

The Attention Trainer is an interactive system that connects to a home computer. A wireless headset -- the Thought Caster™, is used to monitor a child's concentration levels by way of revolutionary wireless, goopless sensors inside the headset. These sensors measure levels of attention and transmit this information, through wireless technology, to the software in the games. The video games respond differently based on a child's level of attention. For example, speed and steering may improve or the game may advance to different levels as concentration improves. The immediate feedback they receive from the game tells a child when he/she is in an attentive state. Over time, a child can learn how it feels to focus and develop the skills that can help him/her concentrate.

Last summer, several local Richmond children participated in an East3 attention-training summer camp. "My child tells me he now knows what it feels like to focus and I can see the difference in both his school work and in social settings," said mother, Mo Blackwell.

"It's fun," said Zack Blackwell,12, who participated in the camp.

Feedback techniques have been used by NASA pilots, Olympic athletes and clinicians for 25 years. East3 brings the benefits of this technique to the home with the application of their new technology.

"Our intent is to make this enabling technology available to as many people as possible," said John Berger, CEO and president of East3. "The potentials and benefits of advanced feedback technology, whether increasing athletic performance, attention training or reducing stress, are truly amazing and too important not to share."

Pre-orders are now being accepted at Attention.com, and The Attention Trainer will be delivered to consumers' homes in early 2001. Purchasers of The Attention Trainer will receive: a headset, the Thought Caster™ and base station, three East3 Enhanced™ video games, Complete Training Guide, Personal Training Account™ to monitor progress on Attention.com and a one-year warranty.

East3 have now teamed up with game company Hasbro Interactive to develop computer games by enabling them to respond to a user's physical and mental state.

"It's wonderful that Hasbro Interactive has licensed these games to be more than just entertainment," said Jeff Segal, CTO of East3. "This agreement is the best of both worlds for parents and kids: Hasbro Interactive computer games that children already know and enjoy and a learning tool for parents to feel good about."

"Hasbro Interactive is very excited to have our computer games enhanced with East3's advanced feedback technology." said Tom Dusenberry, President of Hasbro Interactive. "Having your mind act as an interface with computer games is truly remarkable. And not to mention, these games are a wonderful way of helping children improve their ability to concentrate and focus."

The agreement licenses East3 to a minimum of two Hasbro Interactive computer games for enhancement and use with The Attention Trainer™. One Hasbro Interactive game will be included with the initial game system package and a second will be available in the first quarter of 2001.

"Our intent is to make this enabling technology available to as many people as possible," said John Berger, CEO and President of East3. "Hasbro Interactive is helping us accomplish this goal by making advanced feedback technology beneficial and fun for children through their computer games."

It certainly sounds like an exciting new product, the only drawback being, in our opinion (adders.org) is the cost at $800. New technology is however normally expensive when first released and it is hoped that this cost will reduce as its popularity grows. This seems quite likely as the computer gaming industry is apparently very interested in the prospect of producing games for everyone using this innovative interactive technology, particularly now Hasbro has got involved.

Currently the product is being marketed in the United States only. However, if successful and if John Berger's (CEO and President of East3) repeated comments, "Our intent is to make this enabling technology available to as many people as possible," are to be believed, then it should soon be more widely available. We'll keep you posted.

Simon Hensby for adders.org

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