DHS trials musical brainscan wellness tech on US firemen
'Federal agents' to get Russian bonce-sonata boost, too
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has unveiled plans to enhance the performance of firemen and federal agents by playing them special music synthesized from their own brain waves.
"Every brain has a soundtrack," note the DHS Science & Technology people. "When that soundtrack is recorded and played back - to an emergency responder, or a firefighter - it may sharpen their reflexes during a crisis, and calm their nerves afterward ... the influence of music on emotional well-being has emerged as a hot field of scientific study."
The DHS "Brain Music" programme uses a version of the "Brain Music Therapy" technology provided by Virginia-based firm Human Bionics LLC. This works by measuring a subject's brain signatures using an electroencephalogram and turning them into synthesized piano music - either a stress-reducing relaxation track, or an alertness-boosting one "for improved concentration and decision-making". These tend to sound like Chopin and Mozart respectively, according to Robert Burns, brain-tunes programme chief at the DHS.
"Strain comes with an emergency response job, so we are interested in finding ways to help these workers remain at the top of their game when working and get quality rest when they go off a shift," adds Burns. "Our goal is to find new ways to help first responders perform at the highest level possible."
The bonce-sonata kit "is derived from patented technology developed at Moscow University to use brain waves as a feedback mechanism to correct physiological conditions", it says here. It will form part of the DHS Readiness Optimization Program, in which "nutrition, education and neurotraining" will be used to boost the operational performance of American police, firefighters and "federal agents". However, the first guinea pigs will be "a selected group of local area firefighters".
The DHS has helpfully supplied an example bit of biofeedback mind-music, which you can download here.
In addition to their Russian twitch-suppressing brainwave feedback CDs, it seems plausible that US federal operatives will also soon be issued with special floppy pocketwatches. ®
Any phenomena can be translated into or mapped onto any other phenomena. It all depends on the translating algorhithm. In this case, it could easly be tweaked to produce some Monteverdi (consonant) or Feyrnehough (dissonant). As such, I do not find this experiment to have any value whatsoever. Very hippie alltogether, but well done if you can get research money out of it.
re: I cry...
"Nothing but pork. This has nothing to do with Homeland security."
Are you really that daft? You don't consider first-responders to be part of a nation's security? Police officers will actively defend you against assaulting forces, so they most definitely are security. Firefighters will attempt to control a fire before it injures anyone or spreads to surrounding buildings, so that most definitely does count as security. Paramedics tend to the injured and save lives, which, in my opinion, counts as security. "Security" does not, and should not, mean "protection from external physical assaults" only.
I say most anything that can help first-responders do their job more efficiently and/or with less risk is a good thing.
US still has money to burn.