TECH

Brain Zapping Could Speed Up US Navy Seals' Training

It's all about neuroplasticity.

03/04/2017 17:30 BST | Updated 03/04/2017 17:31 BST

US Navy Seals are undergoing a controversial form of electrical brain stimulation in a bid to make training more efficient.

The technology, called transcranial electrical stimulation, is designed to increase the neuroplasticity of the brain by stimulating the motor cortex.

Halo

The commander of the US navy’s special operations has said he hopes the therapy will improve seals’ mental and physical performance.

Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski told Military.com: “In experiments, people who were watching these screens ... their ability to concentrate would fall off in about 20 minutes.

“But they did studies whereby a little bit of electrical stimulation was applied, and they were able to maintain the same peak performance for 20 hours.”

The stimulation is delivered by Halo Neuroscience headsets, which resemble conventional over-ear headphones and are lined with a layer of silicon spikes.

The spikes, known as neuroprimers, send electrical impulses to the motor cortex, the region of the brain that manages demanding physical tasks.

Halo’s website boasts an impressive list of professional athletes who have used the tech, including Olympians and several NFL players.

The US Navy’s spokesperson Capt. Jason Salata told Military.com that early results from the pilot showed “promising signs”.