September 22, 2015

Laxman Mind Machine

Hey folks, Antonio here.  I’ve interviewed the creator of the Laxman Mind Machine via email.

Here is the interview:

1)  How did the Laxman come into existence.  Can you give me a history of the Laxman.

I have been distributing Light & Sound machines in Germany since the early nineties. Later I have been involved in two companies in Swizerland – AudioStrobe and the ArtVision AG,  where we developed Mind Machines and Biofeedback systems.

In 2004 I came to the idea to develop a device.  This device combined the most important features for optimal brainwave entrainment in one device. So I made some prototypes and started with clinical tests at the Charité in Berlin to research how to achieve the best effect. After finding out the optimum, I applied for some patents.  I then founded Neurotronics GmbH, and got money from the banks for hardware and software development.

In 2008 we presented the Laxman on the IFA in Berlin the first time to the public.

2)  What are the main features of the Laxman that no other mind machine currently has.

As far as I know the Laxman is still the only device which actually supports the Ganzfeld effect.

As well as an open-eye-system which really lives up to its name.

Besides the quality of the stimulation — the Laxman touts flexibility.

Its the only “plug and play” device.  Every parameter can be adjusted separately for professional use – as well as home use.

For example there are studies out there, which suggest, that music supports relaxation and cognitive performance (e.g. Cockerton, Moore, & Norman, 1997). But there are also studies who contradict those results (Furnham & Bradley, 1997).

Maybe the studies have been influenced by the objective.  Maybe different people in different settings react in a different way? However, the Laxman supports the combination of every audiocontent or impulse sounds with the lights to achieve the best results for every individual in every situation.

Some other features, like high quality hardware and accessories, pure haptic handling of the main settings, free editor software and others completes the Laxman. Every single device will be hand checked from me (Markus) personally before shipping.

3)  Can someone program their own entrainment programs with the Laxman.

Yes.  This is one of the basic ideas of the Laxman.

The Laxman isn’t a closed and limited system.

Rather its an open system – which allows the user to do all they need for efficient Brainwave Entrainment.  With the Laxman it is possible, for example, to combine a guided meditation in local language with synchronized visuals in the individual alpha frequency (see Klimesch, 1999).

The editor software itself (LaxEdit) is also an open source software and can be adjusted by everyone.

4)  Is it possible that you guys will ever add a feature to detect remember sleep?  I know the Nova Dreamer and other devices will detect remember sleep and trigger some led lights to help someone become lucid their dreams.

Actually this is a very specific feature.

I worked with lucid dreaming by myself for many years.

So I know, that there are several techniques out there to learn it.

The thing is –  good results in lucid dreaming will not be possible without training.

I found, that a good level in relaxation and concentration in general will help a lot. In this way the Laxman can also support lucid dreaming. But a special feature is currently not planned.

5)  What are some of the exciting plans and or features does Neurotronics have planned for the future?

Currently we have developed a biofeedback software, Laxball. It is a more playful approach to biofeedback. Laxball consists in a collection of 42 mini levels, where a ball has to be steered into the goal, just with the mind. The levels are increasing in difficulty. The ball will be controlled by a sensor, which takes the skin resistance (GSR). GSR is a precise mirror of stress and relaxation, which in turn depends not at last also in thoughts and concentration. Laxball is a sustainable game to improve personal performance in a variaty of fields.

In another project we cooperate with the Institute for Applied Consciousness Research (IACR) close to Berlin. In one of their experiments they research the mental influence on random processes. It is a kind of ‘mind over matter’ experiment. Instead of the radioactive decay, which was the random mechanism in the famous thought experiment of  Schroedingers cat, here a diode (Zener generator) produces the random events. Metaphorically speaking it drops a coin 200 times a second and displayed the result (‘head or number’) in form of a line over or below the base line. The study is about how the consciousness can influence this basically independent process.

Usually the line, of course, oscillates around the base line. First results shows, that people who has trained their mind (e.g. by meditation or – what we like to proof – with the Laxman) can influence the result in a significally way, just by their will (not touching or beeing connected with the device in any physical way).

xxx picture xxx

The picture shows my throughput with the goal to generate a positive significance. The two curves over and below the base line shows the range of significance. Also in random processes it can happen, that, if someones drops a coin, he gets more ‘heads’ than ‘numbers’ just by a coincidence. Outside the two curves the accumulation is large enough to exclude the coincidence.

It is nice to see how the line drops for a moment (see arrow), when my mobile rings (I forgot to switch it off). It shows, that concentration indeed is at least a part of the influence and that this influence can be generated deliberately. We hope, that we can show, that the Laxman can train this ability.

6)  Will you guys ever consider making it possible to hook the Laxman goggles up to a smartphone / tablet with some kind of accessory?  (P.S. that would kick ass 😉 )

Yes, indeed we follow up this idea. We have already a functional sample for testing the best method for data transfer and encoding the signals for the visuals. But actually there are first some other priorities, like for example a hardware redesign for improving the production or proceeding with Laxball and biofeedback.

7)  If yes to number 6, I’m assuming you guys would make an iPhone & android app that would work with the Laxman goggles. Any additional features we can expect?

Exactly. I am already in contact with Apple and of course an android app would be nice too. We have some first test apps. But it is one thing to make a quick app and a completely different thing to make an application with really cool features, optimal performance and brilliant usability. One idea I am already discussing with Andrzej (the inventor of AudioStrobe) is, for example, to find a common encoding system for lax-files and AudioStrobe. It is one of our most discussed topics everytime we meet. But the encoding methods are completely different, much less a converter from one or two colores of AudioStrobe to an all-color-goggle – just to explain one detail.

However, we follow up this idea since a couple of years and will realise it as soon as the current projects are done. And when it comes it will be well-thought-out and tested.

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