Consciousness Hacking 101
What if we aimed our scientific and technological efforts toward researching and catalyzing peace, compassion, and unconditional love on a global scale? Our community resides at the intersection of many different fields, from ancient wisdom traditions, to biofeedback and wearable technology, to video games and interactive art.
This is a totally new space and it’s growing fast, with lots of different pathways emerging. Navigating it can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’ve asked our friends in the community to send us their favorites and whittled it down to create a great introduction. So come, take a journey with us, and let’s explore the wonderful world of Consciousness Hacking!
SEE WHAT’S OUT THERE
Part of the vision behind Consciousness Hacking is the use of wearables and real-time biodata to provide interactive feedback to help people learn how to change their state of mind. The main ones in the market today are sensors for brainwaves, heart rate, and breath.
Thousands of people around the world are using Spire to track their breath and infer emotional states. This technology helps users reconnect with their body, be more productive at work, and sleep better at night.
Another innovative technology comes from HeartMath, which that teaches you to regulate your heartbeat and find peace. Muse, the Brain Sensing Headband, can even help you learn to meditate by pointing out when you’re focused and when you’re distracted.
Art Installations & Projects
Art installations are becoming more and more interactive with the help of technology and biosensors. Some art projects are designed so that they’ll never be experienced the same way twice.
For example, the Mutual Wave Machine, is an enclosed and intimate capsule for two which creates an audiovisual environment that reflects shared brain activity. In addition, visitors can directly experience and manipulate their internal efforts to approach each other, or distance themselves from each other. During the experience, greater brainwave synchronization is reflected in greater vividness and more coherent and recognizable audiovisual patterns, while lack of synchronization strays towards dark audio-visual chaos: a faint ringing in the ears and static in the retinas.
The Mutual Wave Machine is an unprecedented emergence demonstrating how art, technology, and interactivity are converging in new ways.
Other examples of creations moving in this direction include:
- Mutual Wave Machine
- Reincarnation Lounge Chairs
- God Helmet
- Pulse and Bloom
- Machine to be Another
We’re tracking the best tools to help people build transformative technologies.
- Neuromore – a platform for integrating datastreams from multiple biosensors and creating customized audio-visual experiences
- Open BCI – open-source hardware and software for building EEG-based Brain-Computer Interfaces
Our field is technology’s wild west. Silicon Valley is already beginning to switch its focus from performance enhancement to wellbeing. Consciousness Hacking is becoming more mainstream and there are lots of great products in development right now.
One of our favorites is SoundSelf, which is a new breed of video game designed for virtual reality. A traditional video game transports the user into a virtual world, to role play as a character navigating an environment. You’re the racecar on the track, you’re Mario fighting Bowser. Instead, SoundSelf extends your conception of self into virtual reality: it creates your entire experience based on the sound of your voice, so you are what you see, you are what you hear. It’s a nondual, psychedelic experience facilitated by a videogame.
These are some of the projects we’re getting excited about:
- [email protected] – music channels scientifically optimized to increase concentration and productivity
- SleepStarter – a sleep mask which helps you fall asleep within 10 minutes using light therapy
- Nervana – stimulates the Vagus nerve in-sync with music
- Neumitra – uses location and biodata to correlate places with the way they make people feel
- Zenso – tracks heart rate variability and provides feedback via vibration to help you change your state
FUEL YOUR CURIOSITY
- “Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential” by Rafael A. Calvo and Dorian Peters
- “How Oculus Rift Will Change Buddhism” by Vincent Horn, founder of Buddhist Geeks
- Nexus Triology (fiction) by Ramez Naam – an “ingestible and illegal drug/technology called Nexus can link human minds electronically, wirelessly, nearly telepathically”
- “Tools for Exploration” – Old School Consciousness Hacking – a compilation of technologies and practices from 1993
Audio & Video
Here are some of our favorite talks and podcasts on where we’re going next.
- Linda Stone at MIT Media Lab, “Technologies to Support the Essential Self”
- Judson Brewer, neuroscience expert, on Peak Performance & Flow
- Jamie Wheal at TEDx Black Rock City, “Altered States to Altered Traits”
- Buddhist Geeks Podcast – playlist on Contemplative Technology
- Mindful Cyborgs Podcast
We’re not the only ones thinking about this stuff. People are coming at this subject from many different perspectives!