The fundamental premise of the Mattel Mindflex makes it one of the coolest games ever. Seriously, ever. (Note, I didn’t say most fun, I said coolest. There’s a difference.) The object is to move stuff with your mind. Here’s the gist: You put this doodad on your head, then you stare at this li’l Nerf ball real hard, then suddenly the ball starts floating. You levitate the thing. It’s pretty trippy.
I tested this out a few months ago and wrote about it for Popular Science. The itch to try it for myself was strong enough that I actually put that ridiculous thing on my head in a public place, and tried to be the ball. The headband has a sensor — a dry contact electrode — that rests on your forehead just above the left eyebrow, over the SP-1 region of your brain’s frontal lobe. That’s the part of your noodle involved in things like problem solving, motor function, memory, language and judgment. (Clips on your ear lobes take a baseline reading as a control.) When activity in the area increases, the game runs an algorithm to translate that into a level of concentration, which then determines the level, or height of the ball. The headband and game base communicate over a wireless bandwidth similar to Bluetooth. Amazingly, you look like even more of an asshole in this contraption than the jerks with their LED-flashing earpieces. Added bonus.