back to article Mattel bemuses gamers with 'brainwave' toy

As Emotiv Systems’ Epoc neuroheadset is currently going through a rocky patch, Barbie maker Mattel has stepped in with what's rumoured to be a similar type of brainwave toy. Mattel_Mindflex Mattel's Mindflex moves a ball according to brainwave activity Mattel’s keeping mum about the technology behind its Mindflex game, but …


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  1. caffeine addict

    Small parts should not be ingested

    What do the big parts taste like?

  2. Gulfie

    How does the ball stay up?

    Clearly, this toy has extraterrestrial origins. Roswell perhaps. But then again, with the Roswell ailens abilities to keep things flying, perhaps not... time to use the old standby I guess...

    Use the force, Luke!

  3. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    It's a fan!

    No question about it.

    The guts of this beast are quite obviously a rehash of Mattel's Harry Potter levitating challenge game. My kids used to have one. Ok, it's now in white and pastel colours rather than brown (pseudo wood), black and other such less tech-friendly shades, but it's the same thing.

    If you don't believe me, link:

    I reckon that you wind the knob on the front to move the fan around the circuit. The ball stays in the airstream courtesy of Bernoulli. The headset does something to control the altitude of the ball (fan speed). The Potter thing used to come with a handle to control fan power that also made the Potter figure in the middle wave his wand up and down.

    Conclusion: Mattel seeking to get some extra cash out of a long obsolete product by rehashing it to appeal to a new audience.

  4. Rob

    Not going to do very well...

    .... seeing as most of our youth today don't have a brain to produce any waves with.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    The foam ball is flown around with an upward blast of air from a hole in the track and the track rotates around underneath the obstacles.

    Bernoulli effect keeps the ball hovering and by adjusting the speed of a fan pushing the air you control the ball through the obstacles.

    I got something a pretty similar for my five year old last Christmas, but it had a simple lever instead of mind control.

    It's actually quite good fun. Don't know how edible it was though, not tried that.

  6. Pete Smith

    Re: Small Parts

    @caffeine addict: Chicken? I believe everything tastes like chicken.

  7. Andrew Katz

    If I was inventing a "mind control" headset

    I'd start by having an elasticated headband with a few straingauges (or even just switches) embedded in it, so it could detect movements of the facial muscles. I'm sure that would be a hell of a lot cheaper to manufacture, more reliable, and give the user a better illusion of mind control, than anything which purported to detect actual brainwaves.

  8. Simon Orr
    Thumb Down

    Old hat...

  9. GavinL
    Thumb Down

    Even older toy

    I had this game but with a space / moon crater theme in the early 80's.

    Back then it had two levers, one controlled the fan speed and one the direction of travel.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Little tykes....

    It doesn't matter how it works. It won't be appreciated by the kids, who will, of course, find more fun in either the cardboard box, or rolling the ball around on the floor until it rolls under the sofa, when it's "Dad, can you get the ball for me...."

    Now, mind control over the kids - I'd buy THAT for a dollar!

  11. Paul

    Can't decide...

    Is this for training your kids in the ways of the force? "Fighting your sister leads to the dark side my young sprog, who's turn it is matters not"


    The new Scientologists E-meter 2.0? *gullible fool moves ball* " Wow Sir, ever thought of battling Xenu?, and can you setup a direct debit"

  12. Anonymous Coward

    totally padawan

    This is clearly a Jedi starter kit.

  13. Andrew

    sounds familiar...

    Isn't this the game from Star Trek TNG episode "The Game"? Mind the Ktarians...

  14. Bad Max

    @ If I was inventing...

    Or use accelerometers (probably what Mattel did). All that straining to produce "brain waves" is certain to be accompanied by involuntary tossing of the head. And all but the living dead / even the living dead could learn to play it...

  15. Mike Moyle

    Apparently, I'm old...

    ...because my first thought was "A Krell headset".

    Clearly, the ball is held aloft by monsters from the id.

    ...I guess that makes mine the baggy cardigan with the patches on the sleeves and the slippers and reading glasses in the pockets...


  16. Peyton


    Psh - as if! To achieve the levitation, Mattel has obviously modified a Vulcan psionic amplifier. Parents had better hope their kids are full of only good intentions...

    (oh man - I can't believe I just wrote that lol. In my defense, I was a TNG fan *as a kid* - I'm not the comic book guy from The Simpsons - I swear! 8)

  17. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton


    Geekiest comment, ever...

    Paris, new year, new obsession.

  18. Andy Bright

    There's no substitute for a good blaster kid..

    No doubt in my mind that version one failed because it lacked some sort of discipline feature for failure to reach out with the force and adequately defend yourself with a light saber.

  19. Steve Roper

    Prophecy from the 80s

    ... If anyone remembers Back to the Future II, where Marty McFly is in the future (2015) in the "Cafe 80s" showing a young sprog how to work an old 80's cowboy gunman game. The kid replies scornfully, "You mean you have to use your HANDS? That's like a babies' toy!"

    Here it comes, folks... still waiting for Mattel to come up with those hoverboards, though...



  20. Long Fei

    Small parts should not be ingested.

    So it's okay to ingest the larger bits?

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