Brainwave-Controlled Jedi Trainer

Brand: Star Wars
Manufacturer: Uncle Milton
Model: 15051
EAN: 5055379623997
Category: Awesome Stuff
Price: $368.95  (110 customer reviews)
Dimension: 10.00 x 16.00 x 6.00 inches
Shipping Wt: 2.60 pounds
Availability: In Stock.
Average Rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Do you believe in the power of the human mind? If you said yes, and you are not a Buddhist monk, yogi master, hypnotist, or cult leader, you probably also believe in The Force. But while belief in The Force is one thing... [Read more]

Features

  • 15 Levels of training: Advance from Padawan to Jedi Knight
  • Wireless Headset
  • Training remote
  • Features STAR WARS character voices and sound effects
  • Fun and informative learning guide

Top Reviews

Too Fun!
by Michelle (Michy) Devon (4 out of 5 stars)
February 26, 2010

I purchased this for my son for Christmas. When I first saw it, I was disappointed. It was made of cheap plastic and was very lightweight. The headset, though, is better quality than the rest of it. The ball inside the trainer tube is a ping pong ball with designs on it. The base is very lightweight cheap plastic. The sound quality of the small speaker isn't so great either.

But we were still anxious to see if it worked. It took a bit to figure out how to get it to connect from the wireless headset to the base, but once we figured it out, it's easy enough to get it to do it again and again.

Once we got it working, we were hooked. Literally, we spent hours playing with it and going through all the paces. After awhile, I ended up with a headache and had to stop, but my daughter and my son both played with it for hours more. My best friend spent several hours playing with it too.

The biggest complaint is that there is no way to save your levels. After while, so much 'concentration' to get the ball to rise to the top makes my eyes and head ache, and I want to walk away, but if you stop playing and turn it off, the machine resets with no way to save progress and you have to go through all the paces again to get up to the Jedi Knight level. Also, there is a 'humming' sound the speakers purposely makes, and it is very annoying. You can't control the volume, for two reasons 1) the game needs to tell you through Yoda's voice what level to move the ball up to and 2) there is no volume control. The humming part that sounds like a machine humming needs to be removed. Very annoying.

All in all, not bad for a bit of fun, but as cheap as it was constructed, 70 bucks was very expensive for what it is. My son wants one that is somehow tied into one of his gaming systems.
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Your brain isn't doing what you think it is.
by Jax (5 out of 5 stars)
December 27, 2010

I was pretty skeptical. Basically on the low levels the ball will go up to the top if there's a head connected, sit there for awhile, and then drop when the level is complete. This gives the impression that it is just following a program and has nothing to do with your head. Because of this behavior, my Dad refused to believe it was doing anything real.

However, if you click the head piece until all three of the top row of lights are lit (level three) it can basically behave like a free-run and you can practice moving it up and down. I was able to successfully drive it to the very top by focusing, and when I distracted myself with conversation or the TV it would drop a few seconds later. After holding at the top for a very long time, I get mentally worn out and don't feel like talking for awhile.

Neat. $50 is about the right price I think.

Another thing to note: if the contacts on your head shift at all, the lights will flash and the ball will drop. It seems this thing takes a moment to recalibrate, so don't move around too much!

UPDATE: So the one I originally purchased didn't come with an instruction manual, but I have since found out that there is a calibration procedure that is extremely helpful in making this thing's behavior sensible.
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He is an avid Star Wars fan and I knew he'd love it. I was definitely nervous after reading the ...
by Saucey Chic (5 out of 5 stars)
November 29, 2014

Bought this for my nephew's 8th bday. He is an avid Star Wars fan and I knew he'd love it. I was definitely nervous after reading the reviews, but took away from that the key to it working is in the setup. It took a good 20-30 minutes after my nephew opened it for my brother to read the directions and set it up, but we intentionally did so slowly and carefully. It worked like a charm! My nephew was thrilled when he was able to make the ball move. Everyone in the family took a turn trying it throughout the day, and it was unanimously voted a winner.
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I'm sure it will be better for you
by GauntletsofRai (3 out of 5 stars)
September 30, 2013

Personally, there's something wrong with the unit i ordered, as the "fan-obstruction" light blinks every time i try to calibrate the fan, even though i made sure it was cleared of obstructions.

Don't let this stop you from buying one though! Make sure you get one that has not been used, and that is being sold from a seller with good reviews, and chances are you'll get one that won't be broken and that you can actually enjoy.

I've interacted with a working model in the past, and it was fantastic fun, especially if you're trying to impress your friends with the "science" aspect of the toy.

Overall, I would recommend this to both Star Wars fans and general science-toy enthusiasts, but just make sure you buy one from a reputable source. Even if you have to shell out a little extra for a new one, it will be well worth it when you can actually use it instead of keeping it as a dust-collecting trinket such as mine is currently being used for.
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i lost the _____(small) instructions!!! A++++++++++++++ other then that
by dsws (4 out of 5 stars)
September 12, 2011

The sheer coolness of a reasonably-priced EEG biofeedback device massively outweighs the flaws.

I can see how people think it's just going through a pre-set routine. When it tells you what level to raise the ball to, that can easily be mistaken for reports of what level of jedi-ness your brain is currently exerting.

The printed instructions compound the problem. All printed instructions have the first page devoted to legal gobbledygook saying not to use put your finger in a light socket during a thunderstorm while using the product, or whatever. No one reads the first page of any instructions. After all, anyone who needed to be told not to off themselves in creatively litigious ways has probably left the gene pool long since. But most instructions let you know, in a liability-deniable way, where you should start reading. These fail that test. To make matters worse, the device also comes with a page of ad-copy fluff about brain waves and The Force, that looks as though it might be the instructions but actually is almost as useless as the legal boilerplate. It doesn't even tell you anything much about what characteristics of brainwaves constitute "level 1", "level 2", and "level 3".

The other thing I have to say is, if you're buying a version that doesn't come with the AC adapter, get the AC adapter. It runs a fan motor full-time when in use, and AA batteries just aren't up to the task. It's nice that it has the option of being battery operated, but plugging into the wall should be understood as the default setup.
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It does indeed work
by William B. Byerly (4 out of 5 stars)
January 14, 2011

There are some good reviews out there, so I'm only writing one to weigh in on the side of "it really works". I can clearly trace the connection between my mental state and the 'levitation' of the ball; I'm by nature skeptical and scientific, have a degree in cognitive psych, and have experimented some with meditation, so I don't think I'm being fooled by a random state generator. Even more clearly, if someone interrupts or distracts the user, the ball drops instantly. The machine seems to clearly pick up on your state, and doesn't work as well when you're tired or anxious. On the down side, it takes 6 AA's, and 3 AAA's, and if you use rechargeables, it eats them up in a few days of fiddling with it. You'll need to read the manual carefully to understand what the flashing lights on the front mean, as it can be frustrating to try unsuccessfully with it, when the lights indicate "no good sensor contact" instead. The reports here that the machine would turn on and off randomly are completely unlike what I've seen.

Two thumbs up. Way cooler and a better learning tool than 90% of the toys out there.
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Really Works - Awesome Toy - Functional Neurofeedback!
by sqee (5 out of 5 stars)
December 21, 2011

So let's get this out of the way first. This "toy" really does work. Anyone who tells you it doesn't has not done enough (or any) research. The company that partnered to make this toy is NeuroSky, who manufactures the most widely used EEG (electroencephalogram) brainwave readers on the market. Professional researchers have been using NeuroSky tech for a long time. They wouldn't use it if it didn't work. Also, because this is an actual brainwave reader/neurofeedback device, it must be properly calibrated and set up in order to work properly. You have to make sure all three electrodes on the headset are touching bare skin and have to run the setup sequence. It's actually very easy but I could also easily see how an excited impatient kid (or adult ;) would skip it completely thinking "it will just work". Well, it won't "just work" - this is a brainwave reader, not a Hot Wheels toy. This is an interesting product because it's actually pretty amazing tech (the headset and chip) dumbed down to play a simple game (raise or lower the ball in a tube by varying the speed of a fan set into the base, thereby raising or lowering the ball to one of three heights). I paid twenty bucks for the one I got (that was a few days ago) and they're already back up to thirty five bucks.

I am 32 years old and have had ADHD my entire life. I was lucky enough to have parents that paid enough attention to catch that I had it at an early age (back when nobody knew what ADD or ADHD was, in the 80's) and went through quite a list of different therapies in attempts to help to control it. As an adult I have continued to research ADHD heavily and tried a lot of different approaches to dealing with having it.

If I'd had this toy when I was a kid, I'm certain my ADHD problem would have been much less dramatic. The reason I say that is that this literally measures how much concentration you are putting into the act of trying to raise or lower the ball to the proper position. It does this by reading the beta waves (one of several types) that your brain puts out. After only three days of having this toy I can already tell that my ability to concentrate has noticeably improved. After I finish playing with this (I'm using it for about 30 minutes a session so far) my thoughts are noticeably clearer and I can focus and concentrate much more precisely and easily.

The reason why this is helping is that "neurons that fire together wire together". A more Joe The Common Guy explanation of this concept is that in order for you to have a thought (or thought sequence) neurons (brain cells) have to fire together to assemble the necessary neural responses and signals to body parts to execute whatever action you're trying to execute (or mind state you're attempting to achieve or maintain). It's more or less (in a simplified manner) the same idea as doing a certain physical exercise over and over. The more times you do a jumping jack, the better you get at doing them. It's the same concept for brain states or mental actions/thought sequences. A neurofeedback device gives you the ability to monitor your brain's activity in real time and actually work with that information to consciously change your brain activity to match whatever you're attempting to do. So it follows in logical sequence that regular brain exercise (so to speak) will result in a better functioning mind.

Is it going to cure your kid's ADD? No, probably not. Will it help? Yeah I would definitely say so, since one of the biggest obstacles to any approach to ADD aside from medication is keeping the patient's attention on something consistently enough that they want to do it over and over - enough to yield a noticeable result. This should definitely do that. Also, it's actually directly exercising the part of the mind that is responsible for the patient holding their attention on one object.

If on the other hand you're the OTHER thing I am - an adult interested in learning about brain activity and neurofeedback as a hobby - this is also a good thing to get your hands on. There are many hacks listed out there on the Net for this toy already, including one that (with some very minimal soldering and modification) decodes ALL the data the headset is picking up - meaning all of the brainwaves it can detect. If you're semi-seriously interested in doing more technical research (which this toy has completely gotten me hooked on) then NeuroSky sells a headset specifically meant to read a huge range of brain signals for under a hundred bucks, which is insanely cheap for what it does.

The only other thing specifically worth noting is the construction. The base and tube the ball hovers in seem on the low-decent end of the spectrum - provided your kid doesn't whack it against the marble counter hard, it will probably hold up. On the other hand, the headset is pretty flimsy stuff. Note also that the headset is definitely meant for a kid's head, not an adult's. In short, if your kid is prone to throwing their toys when they have a tantrum, it will probably only take one or two really hard throws against a solid wall for one of the sensor arms on the headset to possibly break. I have no idea how durable the brainwave sensor chip in the top of the headset actually is and I'm not about to break mine to find out :)

So in conclusion, if your kid has enough patience to want to try out easily the coolest toy I've ever seen, (and it's less than forty or fifty bucks) then go for it.

If you're interested in neurofeedback or brainwave readers, give it a shot - it's definitely gotten me hooked on the idea.
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The force is strong with this one.
by Quendan (5 out of 5 stars)
January 4, 2011

The Star Wars Force Trainer is intriguing and interesting as it isn't exactly clear as to how it works except by clearing your thoughts and concentrating on what you are doing in response to the requests being made of you by Master Jedi Yoda. This toy is fun for children of all ages and has been proven to be able to calm a rambunctious group of children as my other half, who the gift was for, took it to a friends place and every child and a few of the adults took turns playing with it. Designed to teach you to keep your focus here and now where it belongs.
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Using the Force Trainer
by Gillian (4 out of 5 stars)
December 15, 2012

This device definitely works and is controllable by the user. My only criticism is that the headset is very uncomfortable and it can be hard to get contact with the skin. I would recommend using it in the free play mode for best effect, as in the training mode you seem to have less control. You can control it with your emotions, think happy and smile and the ball will rise, think sad and frown and the ball will drop. The more you do that you find you can control the position of the ball by moving some part of your mind without needing to smile or frown.
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Hmmm..
by Vickichicki (2 out of 5 stars)
January 27, 2012

Christmas gift for my child.

The novelty of the 'Star Wars' brand made us purchase this.

Out of the box it required immediate adult assistance. We could not get the fan to work.

By the time my husband pulled the unit apart and fixed the loose wire in the unit my child had lost interest in it.

My husband tried it and could do nothing more than swirl the ball on the spot.

Kids could not do it.

It has not been out of the box since.

What a waste of money.

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