The Thync is a small, head-mounted device that promises to deliver mood-altering pulses of electricity to your brain, whether you’re seeking the stimulating effects of caffeine or the mental calm one enjoys post-massage. According to the Thync site, the device works by balancing the activity between your body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system is associated with a “fight-or-flight” stress response, while the parasympathetic counteracts the stress response to help you enter a more relaxed mode. The Thync “uses neurosignaling to activate specific cranial and peripheral nerves to influence this balance and shift you to a state of calm or give you a boost of energy in minutes.”
Andrew Tarantola at Engadget takes the Thync for a test drive, temporarily replacing his regular coffee and marijuana use with some electric currents straight to the dome. His thoughts?:
“The Energize strips had the most obvious effect, even at lower intensity settings. The Awake program noticeably boosted my alertness, though I can’t be sure if that was because the device was properly stimulating my facial nerve or it was just shocking the side of my head. The Workout program provided a more intense tingling sensation but failed to motivate me to get up and exercise. The Surge program simply felt like someone licked a couple of 9-volt batteries and smashed them into the side of my head.”
Tarantola also felt very little effect from the Calming strips, though is careful to note that the way he perceived the experience is not an accurate predictor for how anyone else may feel when using the device. For more of his thoughts on the device’s effectiveness and whether or not it seems to be worth the price (it retails for $200 and comes with four five-packs of adhesive strips — two for calming, two for energizing — and each strip can be re-used up to five times), click over to Engadget.