2010 Stanford Cool Products Expo

Posted by Ian on April 8, 2010 at 3:08 PM ET

We showed off the new Multi-Mode Mind Lamp at this year's Stanford Cool Products Expo (CPX).  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to ask questions.

The Multi-Mode Lamp includes the new white-to-color mode, in which the lamp rests on pure white, and changes to one of eight colors depending on the output of the built-in random event generator.  Each of the eight possible colors is equally likely to appear.  Because of the equal probabilities of the 8 colors, it's easy to conduct informal experiments to score your mind's effect upon the lamp using simple statistics.  (Specifically, using the binomial distribution with p = 1/8.)

Also at the CPX this year were NeuroSky (creators of the MindSet brainwave-sensing headset) and OCZ Technology (creators of Neural Impulse Actuator headband).  These are EEG-based devices that allow you to control computer software with your brainwaves.  We're often asked about how these devices compare to the Mind Lamp, so we'll devote a separate blog post to that topic.

We were also excited to see Joby (makers of the Gorillapod) and Think Gum (caffeinated chewing gum!) among the many exhibitors at CPX.

The PEAR Lab In The Lost Symbol

Posted by Ian on October 8, 2009 at 10:41 AM ET

In Dan Brown's new #1 bestseller The Lost Symbol, heroine Katherine Solomon manages a lab studying the interaction of random event generators and human consciousness. Brown conceives of Katherine's lab as a futuristic version of the PEAR lab at Princeton University, the place where Psyleron (that's us, the creators of the Mind Lamp) was born.

For 28 years, PEAR was the nexus of random event generator (REG) research. The lab closed its doors in 2005, not because of a fiery explosion (as Dan Brown might imagine) but because founders Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne were ready for retirement. Jahn and Dunne now serve as advisers to Psyleron, helping us carry out our mission of making REG technology universally affordable and accessible to scientists and the general public.

Psyleron today offers a line of USB random event generators for research and home use, built according to specifications developed at PEAR. This same REG hardware powers the Mind Lamp and SyncTXT. For more information about how the Mind Lamp's color changes are driven by REG output, check out the Inside the Mind Lamp page.

Macroscopic Quantum Entanglement

Posted by Adam on October 4, 2009 at 4:35 PM ET

Mind Lamp fans and physics buffs might be interested in another recent Wired Magazine article about quantum entanglement effects made visible to the naked eye. Using superconductors, UCSB researchers were able to measure changes in electrical current across a distance of several millimeters, believed to be the result of entanglement effects.

Entanglement happens when the quantum state of one object depends on the quantum state of another object—even if the individual objects are physically separated. Because observation can impact the quantum state of one object, it can have a corresponding affect on another object distant in space, if they happen to be entangled. Typically quantum-scale effects fall off the radar as you move from the microscopic to the macroscopic worldbut not in this case. The experiment is a reminder of the fascinating complications surrounding nonlocality.

Placebos Are Getting More Effective

Posted by Ian on September 2, 2009 at 11:37 AM ET

Wired Magazine reports placebos are getting more effective and drugmakers and the scientific community are pondering why. "After decades in the jungles of fringe science, the placebo effect has become the elephant in the boardroom."

As Lynne McTaggart writes in The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World, "The placebo is a form of intention—an instance of intention trickery." Does the rising effectiveness of placebos suggest we are collectively gaining a stronger ability to influence outcomes with intention? Are the mechanistic physical theories for everything from pharmacology to physics increasingly failing to explain intention effects?

Other Psyleron Products

Posted by Adam on June 29, 2009 at 10:46 AM ET

Check out the John's Shrink Rap Radio interview
The Mind Lamp is not an only child. We're working on a number of other products at Psyleron (and yes, we love them all the same). One in particular is called SyncTXT, which is a system that connects your mobile phone to remote random event generators. The results are pretty intriguing. Our CEO John Valentino recently did a radio show about it; you can stream it here.

We should mention that both SyncTXT and the Mind Lamp were made possible, in part, by a generous gift from the molecule C8H10N4O2.

Why Can't The Mind Lamp Turn Black?

Posted by Ian on May 23, 2009 at 11:24 AM ET

Some of our customers have asked the question: "Why can't the Mind Lamp turn black?"Since it's made of sandblasted glass, the Mind Lamp is naturally a white/translucent color. But we are intrigued by the idea of a blacked-out lamp, and we love customer mods. So if you feel inspired to spray some Nite Shades on your Mind Lamp (warning: we have not attempted this!) please send before-and-after photos to feedback@mind-lamp.com. In the mean time, we will keep checking to see whether the team of scientists at the Large Hadron Collider has discovered how to make mini black holes, to enable a true black-outable Mind Lamp.

New Mind Lamp Time Lapse Video

Posted by Ian on May 12, 2009 at 4:23 PM ET

There's a new time-lapse video of the lamp in action on the Photos and Videos page. This video has a story behind it, told here by one of our employees:

"When I recorded this, I left the Mind Lamp unattended for an hour. Looking at the video now, it's notable how slowly the colors changed during that hour. This is consistent with what we expect to see—absent the mind's influence, the lamp is calibrated to act in a slow, random fashion.

"During that hour-long period (condensed to 60 seconds in the time-lapse) there was only one point at which I walked over to glance at the lamp. It's easy to pick out in the video, because I shook the floor, and the camera moved slightly. It's at 1:22 in the video. As you watch the colors changing, you can see that this brief moment coincides with the fastest color change in the hour-long period (from magenta to green).

"This makes sense, because fast color changes are more likely to happen when the REG inside the lamp is producing strongly imbalanced data, as often happens at times when a person is paying close attention to it.

"It's exhilarating to see cases like this, where our knowledge of the research on REG effects is validated by the experience of using the lamp."

Go to the time-lapse video.

Personalize Your Lamp With Stickers!

Posted by Justin on May 8, 2009 at 3:53 PM ET

Looking to add some life to your lamp?InAnimate stickers from Fred and Friends make a fine addition to the Mind Lamp.Each package contains 124 stickers, and they're removable and waterproof. (But don't take a bath with your new friend! Like most electric things, the Mind Lamp likes to stay dry.)

Send photos of your personalized Mind Lamp character to feedback@mind-lamp.com (along with your story) and we'll post them here.