Operant conditioning is a well known psychology principle -- in which "good" behavior is rewarded and "bad" behavior is punished. While positive reinforcement has found its way into everyday life, formal operant conditioning is usually left to professionals. For better or worse, the tech company Narbis is hoping to change that.
Narbis' new smart glasses discourage (read: punish) distraction by darkening the lenses. To reward relaxation and concentration, the lenses clear. The result is a kind of modern Skinner Box -- the contraption that the "father of operant conditioning" B.F. Skinner used to experiment on animals.
The glasses use three sensors -- one behind each ear and one on top of the head. An app, powered by a NASA algorithm, tracks relaxation, distraction and focus. According to the company, the glasses are "designed for easy, in-home use by children and adults," and can be used to provide "immediate and instantaneous feedback on attention" during activities like homework, reading and studying. The app also shows performance and tracks progress. Narbis recommends using the glasses two to three times per week for 30 minutes.
It'd be one thing for adults to try this 21st-century twist on mid-century social psychology, but to market this as a way for parents to help their kids concentrate could be a bit concerning. Narbis does offer the disclaimer that this is not a medical device and that you should consult with your doctor before simultaneously using the glasses and prescription medication.
The smart glasses are available for pre-order on Narbis.com. During pre-order, you can snag a pair for $100 off the regular price of $690. If you're not ready to train your brain with a wearable device like this, you can always stick with productivity apps or study music.