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New Wearable Zaps Your Brain to Alter Mood

LAS VEGAS - I had my brain zapped to change my mood, and I lived to tell the tale. At a private demo with Thync at CES 2015, I experienced a futuristic electroshock therapy aimed at making me feel better. It involved sitting with a small module attached to my forehead for 15 minutes while electric currents passed through my nerves to my brain. 

Since the product is still being finalized, Thync declined to let us photograph the prototype module nor describe its shape, offering only screenshots of its app.

MORE: 10 Weirdest and Wildest Gadgets of CES 2015

I arrived at the suite feeling emotionally distressed by personal matters (mostly my annoying boyfriend) and stressed out about the amount of work on my plate. As a Thync executive explained what the wearable really does, I was immediately keen to see if it could truly take my mind off my woes. A rep stuck the modules onto my head and neck and started a 15-minute Calm session (I picked Calm, but Energy is an option).

As the program started, dots on the controlling smartphone app started to fill up while the nodes pulsed. I felt a prickling sensation as the current passed through my skin. The reps told me to keep increasing the intensity of the current to the point where it's just barely uncomfortable, using the app. They also instructed me to adjust the current as soon as I got used to a level of intensity. We're curious what the voltage of the max dosage might be.

After 10 minutes of sitting around watching the dots on the screen fill up, I started to feel relaxed and almost drowsy. How much that has to do with finally getting a chance to sit and catch my breath rather than the effects of Thync is hard to tell, but I definitely felt less bothered. The angry butterflies in my stomach seemed to fall asleep, and I could barely muster the wherewithal to recall what had upset me in the first place.

Thync told me the effects of the session would last about a half hour after the session ended. Sure enough, even the sight of an immensely long taxi line after I left the suite did not bother me at all. It was only 20 minutes after the session, when a couple in front of me got too affectionate, that I felt the stirrings of annoyance.

Again, it's difficult to determine how effective Thync was, given the possibility that testers (myself included) could have been experiencing placebo effects. Also, I could have become more relaxed just by sitting in a comfortable, quiet suite for a full 15 minutes -- a luxury most CES reporters don't have.

The company is working with the FDA to make sure its device is safe for general consumption, but was quick to assure me that the device was in no way harmful or invasive. That definitely has yet to be seen. If it is deemed safe, I could definitely see myself using Thync before I go to bed to ease me into a peaceful night's slumber. We'll have to wait till later in the year to finally see a consumer-ready version and more details of the device.

Staff Writer Cherlynn Low has given up on her brain. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.

  • Dandalf
    Wow I hope whatever your bf did was deserving of a mention of how annoying he is on the popular tech news site you're a journalist for...
  • bnmohler
    Dandalf... i agree. not even remotely needed information.
  • cr3d1ts
    You can test your built-in Android Browser for known vulnerability at this link

    It seems that about 25 % of Android devices are vulnerable.
  • brucieandlucy
    Rare, good, witty writing that I am happy to have stumbled upon.
  • CherlynnLow
    LOL at everyone that's defending my bf. I warned him before I put it in the post and even said I'd take it out but he said it was ok to leave it in... He knows what he did ;)

    Thanks brucieandlucy! Really appreciate it!
  • Steu Konarzewski
    Ways to up your brain