Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Next: How to best civilize the mobile brain health and brain training Wild West (Tip: Consumer education may help more than pure regulation)

GLASSES-AND-EYE-CHARTUC Riverside Professor Slams Feds, Stands By His Health App (KQED):

“UC Riverside professor of psychology Aaron Seitz had an idea for a mobile health app based on his area of research….Seitz is the academic behind UltimEyes, the vision improvement app that got dinged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $150,000 last week for making deceptive claims about the app’s efficacy. Read the rest of this entry »

#7. Can you identify Apple’s logo?



We don’t notice much of what we see: 85 college students tried to draw the Apple logo from memory; 84 failed (Science Daily):

“Could you draw the ubiquitous Apple computer logo from memory?…Out of 85 UCLA undergraduate students, only one correctly reproduced the Apple logo when asked to draw it on a blank sheet of paper. Fewer than half the students correctly identified the actual logo when Read the rest of this entry »

Apple names brain training apps “Best of 2014” in 20+ countries

apple-best-of-2014Brain training is going mobile, and global. Not only did Apple name one brain training app (Elevate) “Best App of the Year” in the US, across all categories, but it handpicked another brain training app (Peak) as one of the top apps in 20+ countries. In the UK:

“Apple named video editor Replay as its best iPhone app, ahead of self-improvement app Peak – Brain Training.” Read the rest of this entry »

Apple names brain training app “2014 App of the Year”

apple-best-of-2014Apple names its top apps of 2014 (Mashable):

“It’s a good day for Elevate, which was just named Apple’s favorite app of 2014.

The app, which helps you improve memory and focus, was Apple’s top pick of the year. The runner-up was Instagram’s Hyperlapse, which speeds up shaky videos and turns them into time lapses in just two taps.”

Related resources:

Apple iPad Thumbs-Up: Brain Fitness Value, and Limitations

In a previous article for iPad2SharpBrains, I asked whether the Apple tablet (the iPad) would hinder or support cognitive fitness. Here, I assess the iPad against the criteria I laid out previously. I then assess its potential for brain fitness in general. I am relying on Apple’s information; I have not yet used the iPad.

The iPad has been covered all over the net, and Apple has much information on its website, so I will not repeat that here, except to say that the iPad looks like a 9.7 inch iPod with a multi-touch LED-backlit IPS screen. It can run all iPod applications and more. It is a rather spectacular, attractive platform for doing all of what you can do with an iPod but with compelling possibilities that a larger screen presents. It is also an eBook reader and an extremely impressive gaming machine. It is priced very competitively ($500 and up). I imagine that many people will forgo purchasing an iPod, a game station, a netbook and an e-reader and apply their savings to this device.

The iPad itself, and as part of a technological ecosystem of products that work together, is something which has major implications for the brain fitness market.

The following table summarizes the check-list from my previous article.

Table 1 iPad Evaluation Check-List

Criteria Assessment
Powerful personal task-manager Yes (Third-party)
Graphic Organizer Yes (third-party)
Powerful outliner Yes (third-party)
User-activity monitor No (but within reach of Apple)
Integrated self-testing system No (third-party can do part of this).
Major Cognitive Features
System integration and syncing Yes (for what is provided, annotations not yet supported)
Rich annotation framework No (but it is within reach of Apple)
Collaboration Some (annotations not supported)
Mute function (Attention Protection) Close (iPad is attention-friendly)
Affordable, rated content Major publishers are on board; book prices currently high; intelligent quality rating system not announced

1. Applications Checklist

Apple has enabled much of whatchecklist is needed for the iPad to meet the application criteria I laid out. The iPad is not just an e-reader, it is an application platform for cognitive productivity, brain fitness and learning. It will run all existing (140,000 and counting) iPod applications. Some of the applications I called for are already on the Apple App Store, though they will require (forthcoming) enhancements.

I previously noted the need for a task manager, a graphic organizer, an outliner, and a spaced learning system. These applications will not be pre-installed on the iPad. However, many vendors have already announced that their Mac OS X cognitive productivity applications (including graphic organizers, outliners and task managers) are being ported to the iPad. So, we can tick those criteria off.

Apple has developed specifically for the iPad inexpensive iWorks productivity applications for composing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. This is implicit support for active learning on the iPad. In addition, Apple’s existing iPod applications are also available for the iPad.

I was puzzled by the absence of a dictionary on the iPad home page. Users should not have to research and download dictionaries themselves, particularly since a useful dictionary is available on OS X (its ecosystem relative).

2. User Monitoring

I expressed the need for a user activity monitor, which was not provided. What I mean here is that the Apple should include operating system, MobileMe and application support for monitoring and reporting on how the user is spending their time across the Apple ecosystem. This support Read the rest of this entry »

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