Oxford University professor invents brain-hacking “hat” that relieves anxiety


Have you ever wished you could change your mood in an instant?

Well, maybe you could soon, according to an Oxford University professor who invented a “happy hat” with the help of UAE investors. Professor Newton Howard says he invented a machine that “hacks” the brain and allows wearers to experience a sustained state of happiness.

“Happiness is a very basic necessity that every person on earth should be able to enjoy,” he said during an online presentation in partnership with Emirates Health Services as part of UAE Innovates on Friday.

“True happiness is a sustainable state of life that affects not just your mood, but literally your health and quality of life.

The technology we have developed is revolutionary, the plan is bold and we believe the results will benefit humanity for generations to come

Professor Newton Howard

“The technology we have developed is revolutionary, the plan is bold and we believe the results will benefit humanity for generations to come.”

Howard, a professor of neurocomputation, neurosurgery and mathematics at the University of Oxford and a professor of brain science at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, claims the mechanism will be available in the UAE within the next six months to a year.

According to Howard, the technology, called Kinetic Intelligent Wireless Implant, or Kiwi, will help treat mental health issues in just 14 sessions, each lasting 20 minutes. He claims his invention will eliminate the use of drugs to treat depression and anxiety.

The treatment works by sending miniature implants through the nasal passage to the brain, which are then activated by a small propagation device that fits easily in a hat.

The system then records brain activity and stimulates regrowth of neurons that have been lost or damaged by administering small electrical pulses.

Unlike traditional deep brain stimulation, the treatment is non-invasive and does not require major surgery to insert, with the implants measuring no more than a grain of rice.

Although Kiwi is not yet FDA approved, Howard is confident it will soon be available in the United Arab Emirates and has spoken of a demand for the technology in the region. “Our main investors and financiers are from the UAE and want to bring this to the UAE as soon as possible,” he says.

“The technology we have developed is designed for use at home and can easily be slipped into a hat for everyday use. You can even wear it while listening to music or working out at the gym and it will improve your mood.”

Howard has deployed prototypes and believes he’s ready to go to market with Kiwi. And treating mental illness is just the beginning of the device’s potential, he says.

“By deciphering the language of the brain and understanding how the brain works, we can improve health and natural human abilities,” he said. “If I want to learn how to speak Chinese in three weeks, I could do it with cognitive enhancements. The possibilities are endless.”

Updated February 5, 2022 at 10:16 am


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