This CES award-winning gadget helps you instantly calm down and focus


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/16/this-ces-award-winning-gadget.html


#2

All right, here’s @Nimelennar’s five-minute product research.

First: although I didn’t find any solid clinical evidence of this product working (not that I expected to), I also didn’t find any debunkings saying, “This is completely ridiculous, don’t waste your money.” Apparently, vagus nerve stimulation is a real thing, and apparently, that nerve does go to the ear. So, if it’s BS, then it’s at least competent BS.

That said, all of the reviews on Nervana’s subreddit say that the sound quality is terrible, and while this ad hypes up “calm and focus,” the original Indiegogo page hypes up “pleasure.”

Compare:

Introducing NERVANA: The World’s First Consumer Product to Stimulate the Body’s Pleasure Center and Release Natural Feel-Good Chemicals Synchronized to Your Music

Now, I’m not going to lie, the Indiegogo page does mention calm and focus …

This elicits a calm, relaxed feeling for most users in a natural way, which stimulates the brain’s pleasure center, known to release neurotransmitters (the body’s feel-good messengers).

… but it’s selling pleasure …

"That’s what NERVANA is all about: making people feel good.”

… which makes it odd that the BB Store ad doesn’t mention pleasure or “feeling good” at all.

I’d rate this a “don’t get your hopes up.”


#3

It seems worth noting that, while transdermal applications are being investigated; the only vagus nerve stimulation with much clinical data is the ‘hack you open and insert the electrodes’ flavor of nerve stimulation; which we know gets results, but tend to avoid when there are alternatives. Which is why epilepsy and really hardcore depression are the current use cases.


#4

I came across this review from a trusted site:

Better not get the right and left sides mixed up!

One more:

ETA fuck you Google and your fucking Amp links.


#5

We need no longer wonder whether this is a scam.

Only dopamine? Not oxytocin? These people are not up with trends in neurochem bullshit.


#6

I can’t judge the scientific merits but can confirm that it made my brain glow brightly inside my translucent head.


#7

You won’t be needing Valkee Ear-Torches, then.

Or the Vieland Brain-Stimulating Nostril Torch.


#8

A rare candid photo of Rob Beschizza:


#9

Thanks for looking those up at great peril of your low hypochondria score on t3h s34rch. I read them as lukewarm?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eta_(disambiguation) might have missed the tip…oh yeah, they autocorrected you to tube amp links? That… OTL


#10

I thought he looked like this:


#11

“New, noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation devices, which do not require surgical implantation, have been approved for use in Europe to treat epilepsy, depression and pain but have not yet been approved for use in the U.S.”

Either way, be sure not to put the zapper in your right ear.


#12

So BoingBoing Store is now a traveling medicine wagon show?


#13

Is this like that thing where you attach crocodile clips to your ear lobes and you can see flashing lights in your peripheral vision?

Maybe I had the voltage set too high?


#14

Still looking for a droud in the BB store.


#15

I stimulated my vagus nerve once, right through my cervix. Got an IUD. Had a vasovagal response (and nearly syncope) right in the hospital atrium. 0/10 would not do again.


#16

I can get vasovagal syncope from damn near anything that I get sufficiently freaked out about, including having blood drawn or severe pain. Honestly, it’s usually better if I fully pass out - then when I wake up I’m confused and flushed and might throw up, but I actually don’t feel that terrible. The incidents where I almost lose consciousness leave me with a terrible headache, and I still usually end up throwing up.

I once felt strongly enough about giving blood that I decided I should “man up” and just go do it. I passed out while donating, but the Red Cross still called me about once a month for the next 6 months to ask if I would donate again


#17

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