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Science LinXVisit our exhibitions!Longterm exhibitionMindBall

Feeling drowsy and dull? Good!

MindBall

Finally there’s a competition where the most laid-back player wins! At the Science LinX exhibition you can play a very unusual game of table football: MindBall. Do your best to not concentrate on the ball, and should you begin to nod off, well that’s even better!

Visualization of signal transmissions between neurons in your brain. ©Sebastian Kaulitzki.
Visualization of signal transmissions between neurons in your brain. ©Sebastian Kaulitzki.

Different brain waves

Whether you are engaged in an activity or deep in sleep, your brain continuously produces a tiny electric current. If you measure and register this current with an EEG (Electroencephalograph), you can distinguish various different kinds of brainwaves. An EEG would soon make it clear whether you were paying attention or daydreaming during maths class.

The more relaxed you are during this game of table football, the more chance you’ll have of winning! ©Brechje Hollaardt.
The more relaxed you are during this game of table football, the more chance you’ll have of winning! ©Brechje Hollaardt.

Control the ball by doing nothing

The game of Brainball is based on these differences. You actually control the ball with your brainwaves! However, as this game is biased towards the most laid-back players, we won’t be measuring all the brainwaves. In this game we’re only interested in alpha and theta waves. Alpha waves are emitted when you are in a relaxed state and theta waves are produced when you feel dull, drowsy and dozy. Brainball has thus absolutely no use for delta waves (produced during deep sleep) or beta waves (emitted during concentrated activity).

Needed for a game of Brainball: alpha waves, produced by your brain when you’re relaxed, and theta waves, produced when you feel drowsy. ©Scott Camazine.
Needed for a game of Brainball: alpha waves, produced by your brain when you’re relaxed, and theta waves, produced when you feel drowsy. ©Scott Camazine.

Research in Groningen

In Groningen, weknow all about sleepiness, EEGs and brainwaves. Our researchers at the Department of Chronobiology (Chronos is Greek for time) are studying the biological clock and the sleep behaviour of animals and humans. For example, we are researching how tits time their reproductive behaviour and the pros and cons of hibernation for squirrels in cold regions. Our studies on human beings focus mainly on the differences between ‘morning’ and ‘evening’ people and the influence of ambient light on the timing and quality of sleeping and waking. We have learned, for example, that people feel more awake when there is more light, and that you can get an ‘evening’ type to wake up earlier in the morning using light.

Trouble getting up in the morning? Maybe the Philips Wake-up Light is the thing for you. ©Wessel du Plooy.
Trouble getting up in the morning? Maybe the Philips Wake-up Light is the thing for you. ©Wessel du Plooy.

Morning or night person?

So which type are you? Are you in your element in the morning, or do you only really get active when dusk sets in? Complete this questionnaire to find out whether you are an early or late ‘chronotype’ in comparison with your peers. If you are clever you can use this information when you play Brainball...

Links

Co lophon

IP external , Dr Menno Gerkema and Martine Verberne. Please contact Science LinX if you should have been included in the acknowledgements.

Author

Siëlle Gramser


Last modified:24 April 2018 09.32 a.m.
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