Looxid Labs' brain-monitoring VR headset could be invaluable for therapy

The idea isn't as peculiar as you might think.

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Chris Velazco
January 10, 2018 10:57 PM
In this article: ces2018, gear, looxidlabs, therapy, vr, wearables
Chris Velazco/Engadget
Chris Velazco/Engadget

Taking in imaginary worlds or a gripping immersive video via VR can elicit strong reactions, and a startup called Looxid Labs wants to know how your brain reacts to all of it. To that end, it built the unimaginatively named LooxidVR system, a phone-based VR headset that packs two eye-tracking cameras and six EEG brain wave sensors.

Now, I know what you're thinking: There's no content out there making use of this kind of data. It's not hard to imagine potential experiences, though, like a game that modifies its own difficulty based on your stress reactions or a VR video with narrative paths that branch in response to your brain's whims.

All of that is theoretically possible, but that's not the big picture Looxid is concerned about. The team is more focused on turning LooxidVR into a research tool with powerful implications for business and health.

That latter industry is easily the most interesting, particularly since LooxidVR seems like a potentially great tool for therapy. Some research into virtual-exposure therapy -- which puts the user in specific states of stress to mitigate the mental trauma they induce -- indicates quite a bit of promise, though it hasn't quite reached widespread use.

The company's CES demo was, shall we say, considerably more chill. After strapping on the headset, the team took me on a tour through a virtual museum while an imaginary display constantly showing off changes in my brain activity hovered nearby. While this might all sound a little pie in the sky, some big names have signaled their support: HTC, for instance, invested in the company through its Vive X accelerator.

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