I recently got my order of Halo Sport — headphones that work through transcranial direct current simulation (tDCS) to the brain, letting your brain go into a state of “hyper-learning”, giving you elevated abilities to learn or focus.

What is Neuropriming?
Halo Sport works through a process called Neuropriming. Halo Sport is worn before or during physical training, and the device’s soft foam Primers deliver electrical stimulation to the brain’s motor cortex. Neuropriming is the process of using neurostimulation during athletic training to build stronger, more optimized connections between the brain and the muscles. Neuropriming introduces a state of hyper-learning or “hyperplasticity” in the brain, which refines the brain’s ability to learn and adapt to athletic training. This allows athletes to see better results, faster.

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The green line represents a neuron primed for hyperplasticity, with an elevated starting point. Similar to the unprimed neuron above, as signals come in, the line again rises until it reaches the electrical threshold and fires an action potential. The difference is that it now takes less input to trigger the neuron to send a signal.

Show me the science?
Halo Sport has a detailed Science section, where they explain how the brain works in a state of plasticity, and how through soft primers and impulse, the device places the brain’s motor cortex in a state of “hyperplasticity”. When paired with athletic training, the device then helps in the development of stronger more optimised neuromuscular output. Having using tDCS devices before, I know that previous use cases of the technology includes bringing you into a state of meditative zen, hacking your productivity etc. Tim Ferris has a post from a while back on neuroplasticity, EEG and the general use of technology around your brain to hack learning.

Why did I buy the Halo Sport?
The claim to work out more explosively -who does not want that?

  1. The claim that you can hack learning — again, who would say no?
  2. Combine buzzwords that I know like tDCS, EEG and more importantly neuroscience
  3. 20 minutes a day gives you 60 minutes of hyperplasticity state — I am curious to see if I can hack being tired but still workout, or being tired but still learn to focus on a new skill.
  4. General belief that our brains can be hacked and being curious to try how far the most advanced consumer technology has come so far.

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New skill, endurance or explosive strength workouts, the future of workouts and learning are purely in the brain.

How have I used it so far?
I have used it 2x to run and 1x to get intense work done. If you are exercising with it, you spend 20 minutes doing your warm up with the headphones, with the primers being wet and in full contact with your brain. You can adjust the impulse through a slick app that has 3 pre-set programs based on what you plan to do.

15 extra minutes of running i.e. 50% more output after 20 mins
During weekdays, the last year, on average I ran for 25–35 minutes or between 4–6 KM since I get bored or tired around that mark. With Halo, I did 20 minutes priming, where the first 10 minutes I warmed up by running on the spot, jumping, stretching and starting to walk briskly, while the last 10 minutes I ran normally. Surprisingly, I ended up running for 45 minutes without a break after this priming session.

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45 minutes of running. Data from Nokia Steel HR.

When you start feeling the impulses in your brain, there is a tingling sensation that happens. This ends up making me more focused as the noise in the brain starts to clear away. I guess the focus one gets couples nicely with the primed state to get more out of you.

If this trend continues in terms of my ability to find endurance or focus for workouts or even working, I am quite excited to see how to make this a habit that I can follow.