I only just read Laura S. Marshall’s “
Peregrinations” feature in the October issue of
Photonics Spectra about the brain-activity
game (“ ‘Lazybrains’: a real mental workout”).
I think it appropriate to note that this
general idea, of a brain-activated game, is
far from new. Our neighboring company
across the parking lot displayed a similar
game, called “BrainBall,” probably five
years ago. Although based on electronic
monitoring of alpha waves, rather than on
optoelectronic monitoring of blood flow,
the end result seems to have been remarkably similar. I also might note that Dr.
Dick Moberg, the principal of Moberg Research Inc., where we played this game,
has been active for many years in the
Philadelphia biomedical research community, possibly including Drexel University.
He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, adjacent to Drexel, lives in the
same area and is a former adjunct professor of biotechnology. It seems quite possible that the Drexel people mentioned in
your article, Jordan Santell and Paul
Diefenbach, may have had contact with Dr.
Moberg over the years. I cannot help wondering if they owe more of a debt to previous work than was reported in the article.
According to the link on Dr. Moberg’s
Web site ( http://www.mobergresearch.
com/ brainball.html), “BrainBall” was invented in Sweden at the Interactive Institute and “has been the subject of several
scientific research projects dealing with
the interaction of humans and machines.
Under the leadership of Magnus Jonsson,
the first table was built in 1999 and subsequently shown at the Hanover Expo in
2000 and at Medica in Düsseldorf the
same year. Research and developments
continue at the Interactive Institute.”
Laurence N. Wesson
Aurora Optics Inc.
Broad Axe, Pa.
The Editor Responds:
Space constraints prevented us from reporting on older, nonphotonic games that
set the stage for a game like “Lazybrains,”
so thank you for sharing this interesting
bit of history.
Laura S. Marshall
New covers win convert
After years of oblique, abstract, look-alike
covers (a signature style for sure, but one
I was never too fond of), first the new
cover/interior design and then the chances
you’re taking with the covers – all laudable signs of progress.
South Windsor, Conn.
Wishes come true
I’m delighted to inform you that your wish
has been granted (“Things I Want to See,”
page 20, January issue, “Snow Be Gone”).
My company provides exactly these
kinds of sensors and systems. They often
are used to monitor roadway surfaces and
runways at airports. We can predict freezing and icy conditions before they happen,
and we can definitely measure them when
they actually happen.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to provide
the “driveway heating” on your own.
Banning the bulb
I read with interest your article (p. 106,
January issue) on what seems to be a
global, headlong rush to ban the incandescent bulb. Some of the write-ups I have
seen on this subject include the downside
of compact fluorescents: mercury vapor.
There are some rather extensive guidelines
published and proposed that should/must
be followed when one of these breaks.
(Do not vacuum the remnants, air out the
room for hours, use a sealed bag, wear a
You might have included some of these
warnings and cautionary notices. Are we
curtailing one demon and replacing it with
a more dangerous and sinister one?
Computer Optics Inc.
Reducing lighting energy
I’m responding to the sidebar “Banning
the bulb” on page 106 of the January issue
of Photonics Spectra.
It is gratifying that some countries are
banning the incandescent bulb and promoting the substitution of LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). I know of
no environmental damage from LEDs, but
CFLs contain mercury, and there is no
guarantee that safe disposal sites will be
offered or that users will conscientiously
Consider computers, TVs, appliances,