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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.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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