Halo Neuroscience's Daniel Chao explains how his device speeds up movement based learning.

By Lisa Fu
July 18, 2017

Imagine popping a pair of Beats-like headphones on your head, fiddling with some settings, and becoming a better skiier. Or, better yet for those who are injured, healthier. That’s the far-flung promise of Halo Neuroscience and its product that was on display during the Brainstorm Tech conference Tuesday.

Boasting more than 1,000 double-blind, randomized experiments using over 2,000 data points, doctor-turned-entrepreneur Daniel Chao, Halo’s founder and CEO, revealed his company’s latest product, Halo Sport, a $749 headset that accelerates movement-based learning by stimulating the motor cortex.

The headphone shaped device goes over the head and speeds up the brain’s natural ability to create new neural pathways, allowing humans to pick up physical skills faster. Built in “primers” act as electrodes and stimulate the brain, according to Chao.

And using it is as easy as sweating it out with some Spotify. “People know how to use headphones, and the motor cortex is just conveniently located on the top of the head,” Chao said.

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When developing the product, Chao, with an M.D. from Stanford and a solid background in neuroscience, took a scientific and data-based approach. And the results they have observed from athletes are more than just the placebo effect. After thousands of randomized, double-blinded experiments, Chao said he’s confident in what the product can do.

“The data is really really conclusive,” Chao said. “The results are very very clear.”

Chao said the device is still waiting for FDA approval, but the company envisions Halo Sport will be used in the medical field for rehabilitating stroke victims who often have to learn simple physical tasks all over again. Until then, the company works exclusively with the United States Olympic Ski team to help train athletes using Halo Sport.

But Chao said he looks at “athletes” more broadly than than football players and basketball stars. The company sets out to train anyone interested in movement based learning including pilots, the military and neurosurgeons. “We think of musicians as athletes,” Chao said. “We think of surgeons as athletes.”

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