Enhancing cognition via brain training with a visual emphasis: Key neurotechnology patent #38

cognitive training

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 7,773,097

Today we high­light a 2010 patent assigned to Posit Sci­ence Cor­po­ra­tion, the devel­op­er of Brain­HQ brain train­ing sys­tem. (As men­tioned, we are fea­tur­ing foun­da­tion­al Per­va­sive Neu­rotech patents, from old­er to new­er by issue date, to get a bet­ter glimpse into emerg­ing trends)

U.S. Patent No. 7,773,097: Visu­al empha­sis for cog­ni­tive train­ing exercises

  • Assignee(s): Posit Sci­ence Corporation
  • Inventor(s): Michael M. Merzenich, Peter B. Delahunt, Joseph L. Hardy, Hen­ry W. Mah­ncke, Don­ald Richard
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: Neu­rocog­ni­tive training
  • Issue Date: August 10, 2010

SharpBrains’ Take:

In a sim­i­lar yet unique approach to the ‘961 patent (anoth­er note­wor­thy non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent assigned to Posit Sci­ence), the ‘097 patent dis­clos­es meth­ods for iter­a­tive­ly test­ing and train­ing a user’s abil­i­ty to dis­cern between pre­sent­ed stim­uli. Com­pli­ment­ing the ‘961 paten­t’s method of pat­tern recog­ni­tion, the ‘097 patent teach­es a series of approach­es for iden­ti­fy­ing and dis­cern­ing fore­ground objects from back­ground set­tings, for exam­ple by iden­ti­fy­ing a cam­ou­flaged duck in the fore­ground from a lake in the back­drop (see illus­tra­tive image above). The spec­i­fi­ca­tion describes vary­ing the salience of the back­ground or fore­ground through a vari­ety of means includ­ing con­trast relat­ed to chro­mat­ic fea­tures, lumi­nance, spa­tial fre­quen­cy, size, tex­ture, etc., iter­a­tive­ly pre­sent­ing an object that is more or less dif­fi­cult to be iden­ti­fied depend­ing on the user’s skill lev­el. The syn­er­gis­tic cov­er­age of the ‘961 patent with oth­er Posit Sci­ence intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty, use­ful field of endeav­or of cog­ni­tive train­ing with visu­al stim­uli, and depen­dent claims (33 in total) cov­er­ing a vari­ety of types of visu­al empha­sis tech­niques recit­ed as a lim­i­ta­tion in a sound inde­pen­dent claim, are among the fac­tors that make the ‘097 patent a key non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


Com­put­er-imple­ment­ed method for enhanc­ing cog­ni­tion of a par­tic­i­pant using visu­al empha­sis. One or more scenes are pro­vid­ed and are avail­able for visu­al pre­sen­ta­tion to the par­tic­i­pant, each scene hav­ing a back­ground and at least one fore­ground object. A scene is visu­al­ly pre­sent­ed to the par­tic­i­pant with a spec­i­fied visu­al empha­sis that enhances visu­al dis­tinc­tion of the at least one fore­ground object with respect to the back­ground, where the fore­ground object(s) and/or the back­ground are mod­i­fied or select­ed to achieve the spec­i­fied visu­al empha­sis. The par­tic­i­pant is required to respond to the scene, and a deter­mi­na­tion made as to whether the par­tic­i­pant respond­ed cor­rect­ly. The visu­al empha­sis may be mod­i­fied based on whether or not the par­tic­i­pant respond­ed cor­rect­ly a spec­i­fied num­ber of times. The pre­sent­ing, requir­ing, and deter­min­ing (and pos­si­bly the mod­i­fy­ing) are repeat­ed in an iter­a­tive man­ner to improve the par­tic­i­pan­t’s cognition.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 1. A method for enhanc­ing cog­ni­tion in a par­tic­i­pant, uti­liz­ing a com­put­ing device to present visu­al stim­uli for train­ing, and to receive respons­es from the par­tic­i­pant, the method comprising:

uti­liz­ing the com­put­ing device to perform:

  • pro­vid­ing one or more scenes, each hav­ing a back­ground and at least one fore­ground object, where­in the one or more scenes are avail­able for visu­al pre­sen­ta­tion to the participant;
  • visu­al­ly pre­sent­ing a scene from the one or more scenes to the participant,

where­in said visu­al­ly pre­sent­ing com­pris­es visu­al­ly pre­sent­ing the at least one fore­ground object and/or the back­ground with a spec­i­fied visu­al empha­sis that visu­al­ly dis­tin­guish­es the at least one fore­ground object with respect to the background;

  • requir­ing the par­tic­i­pant to respond to the scene;
  • deter­min­ing whether the par­tic­i­pant respond­ed correctly;
  • mod­i­fy­ing the spec­i­fied visu­al empha­sis based on said deter­min­ing, where­in said mod­i­fy­ing the spec­i­fied visu­al empha­sis com­pris­es adjust­ing the degree of visu­al empha­sis accord­ing to one or more visu­al empha­sis tech­niques; and
  • repeat­ing said visu­al­ly pre­sent­ing, said requir­ing, and said deter­min­ing one or more times in an iter­a­tive man­ner to improve the par­tic­i­pan­t’s cognition.

To learn more about mar­ket data, trends and lead­ing com­pa­nies in the dig­i­tal brain health space –dig­i­tal plat­forms for brain/ cog­ni­tive assess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and enhance­ment– check out this mar­ket report. To learn more about our analy­sis of 10,000+ patent fil­ings, check out this IP & inno­va­tion neu­rotech report.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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