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Breathe Deeply

The back story

2 min read

Rebreathers, an advanced kind of scuba-diving gear, let divers stay underwater for hours, silently, like the ”fish men” that Jacques Cousteau envisioned at the dawn of the age of underwater exploration. So we jumped at the chance to review an innovative new rebreather. And then we had to wait almost a year before we could actually publish the review (”Winner: Poseidon Discovery,” in this issue).

Our story starts in March of last year, when we contacted Karl Shreeves, the all-around tech guy at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Shreeves eagerly agreed to review the new rebreather, the Discovery Mark VI from Poseidon Diving Systems of Västra Frölunda, Sweden. It’s one of the few rebreathers available to recreational divers.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
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A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic
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Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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