My latest iPhone application MindPulse is available now on the iTunes App Store.

The inspiration for MindPulse came from a number of places including an article about The Brain Machine in Make Magazine, my own study and research of flicker frequency, possibly from re-reading William Grey Walter’s The Living Brain and certainly the desire to reduce the time I waste unconscious.

MindPulse main view

MindPulse main view

I took a look at a few of the existing binaural beats applications available for the iPhone but none of them included what I consider to be the basic requirements of an entrainment device: synchronized audio and visual stimulation. Worse yet, most of them add the complexity of masking the frequency controls as “fancy” program names such as “creative thought enhancer” and “quit smoking”?

So for this first release I had two requirements:

  1. Synchronized audio and visual stimulation
  2. Provide the four most interesting “modes” recognized by EEG standards

From this came the two views of MindPulse, the main “menu” (as shown above) and the flashing visual stimulator screen.

There were several technical challenges faced once I was ready to start coding the app. The first is that I was unable to find any built-in support for audio synthesis on the phone; this was surprise. For awhile I noodled on the idea of writing a custom synthesis module but eventually I realized this was unnecessary for the application (at least, for this release) so I opted to synthesize the necessary tones using my computer and sample these sounds to include in the application. This has the added benefit of reducing power consumption on playback which is important as I suspend “sleep mode” on the device while we’re running.

The next challenge was getting the visual stimulation to work exactly how I wanted. In the end I had to comprimise on one aspect (controlling the brightness), but overall I was able to get what I wanted working.

So far the application has done well and most encouragingly the feature requests i have received have been items that I’ve already had on the list for future releases. I’m planning at least one update before the end of the year and perhaps two depending on how long it takes to get the features I feel are critical working to my satisfaction.

I’m also considering a “lite” version I’m calling “MindPulseSolo” that would provide only one “mode” at a reduced cost to make it easier for more people to give the technology a try and see if it works for them before investing in a more “complete” application. I’m just not sure yet if the overhead of maintaining a separate code base is worthwhile, and I’d rather focus on improving MindPulse than spinning off additional applications.

For now I’m gathering feedback and suggestions so if you use MindPulse or are curious about what it does and how it works feel free to comment here to get in touch.