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CES 2009: Mattel's MindFlex gives you Jedi mind powers

Kevin Kelly

The author burnt out several synapses levitating the ball for this photo.
Mattel had a booth at CES pimping out things like U.B. Funkeys, a Barbie nail design automatic applicator contraption, and Mindflex, a game that claims to harness the untapped power of your brain's beta waves. These are waves that the brain generates when you're busy solving problems, concentrating, or trying to decipher what the sales chart trends on Joystiq are pointing toward.

Mattel wants to channel said waves into a franchise of games under the Mindflex banner, the first of which offers a "float the ball with your brain" challenge. To play, you slap on a funky headband, attach little butterfly clips to your earlobes and then concentrate really hard. If you do it well enough ... the ball floats. Relax your brain or close your eyes, and it hovers down.

Gallery: CES 2009: Mattel | 18 Photos

In reality, the game unit is telling the board how hard to spin the fans, which blow the ball up in the air, based on the beta wave levels being emitted. After a bit of experimenting and brow furrowing, you can figure out which level of thinkingness you need to send out, Jedi style.

And yes, it actually works. Think really hard, and you can get that sucker pretty far up in the air. Say some mantras or try a yoga pose, and it wafts back down. Using the knob on the front allows you to rotate the ball (which is made of a kind of dense Styrofoam) in a circle, and then put it through some obstacles. It's basically a brain-powered version of the old Air Trix board game. It certainly was a lot of fun watching people's faces light up when they got this device to work.

Sadly, it doesn't yet allow you to choke the life out of insubordinate peons ... but just you wait.

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