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Home Golf no longer needs to be a head game

With 2011 around the corner, this is the time of year when people often reflect on the year that was, while fostering optimism about the year ahead. The underlying purpose behind the exercise is to become better in the weeks and months ahead whether its in the weight loss category or earnings power. One company is looking to help golfers achieve their goals in a unique way.
B-Bridge International has unveiled the first brainwave athletic trainer. Powered by NeuroSky, the leader in mass-market Brain-Computer Interface technology, according to the company, the BrainAthlete system is the first sports training unit available for general consumers to track an athlete’s level of concentration, helping them find their “zone.” Engineered into a standard golf visor, three non-invasive contact points in the headband monitor the EEG electrical activity from the brain to determine the athlete’s mental states.
The BrainAthlete visor is said to allow athletes and trainers to track concentration levels during a workout activity, such as a golf swing, and analyze the performance in real time or after the completion of the training session. “We have found that there is a lot of interest in how this device can help athletes more easily ‘get into the zone,’” stated Hiro Masumoto, president and CEO of B-Bridge International. “For the past five years, we have focused on research of mental sports performance. We are pleased to finally have a product that will be available to the public and specifically for peak sports training,” added NeuroSky CEO, Stanley Yang.
NeuroSky has been working with the USA Olympic Archery team for over four years, but the concept of “mental training” goes back much further. “When it comes to expert level players or athletes, the difference between win or lose, gold or silver is often the athlete's mind,” said Dr. Lee, NeuroSky’s CTO and one of the company founders.
The potential of this technology and device to help other athletes - amateur or professional level - is considered huge. According to the National Golf Foundation, there are 28.8 million American golfers. Acknowledged as a mental game by many, golf is an ideal sport to introduce the neuro-feedback technology because it can help golfers improve on their skills.
As a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, Dr. Debra Crews has been studying golfers’ brainwaves for a decade. She sees a correlation between mental state and performance accuracy. Her challenge has been the lack of portability in bringing medical EEG to the golf course. “EEG will be a factor in golf coaching and other sports where mental acuity influences outcomes,” she said. Dr. Crews would historically record EEG data and return to her office on campus later to conduct analysis. The product began shipping in Japan on December 1. It will be available in the US in the first quarter of 2011 at a price to be determined. It is expected to be priced at the equivalent of 40,000 Japanese yen, which at current exchange rates would be approximately $490.