Manipulate your brain.
The brain is a wonderful thing. But it can also be a complete pain in the backside. It is almost as if the brain has a mind of it’s own, so to speak, and rarely does it play ball and get you into the right frame of mind when you need it. Wouldn’t it be nice if before going to sleep you could just hit a switch and the brain would be ready for bed. What about how handy it would be to set your brain to focus mode just before revising for an exam? Well, it would appear that this may just be possible using strange buzzy noises. Ubrain from Digital Reality is an iPhone app that allows you to use these buzzy noises whilst listening to your own tunes, which is a much more appealing situation.
The concept has been around for a long time. They are known as Binaural Beats and the idea is that playing these low frequency noises stimulates certain parts of the brain, to give the desired actions. In recent years this form of therapy has grown in popularity but, like a lot of these types of things, whether or not they work really does depend on the user.
So, Ubrain offers the user a questionnaire to begin with. By answering a few questions, the program can decide which type of binaural beat, or “digital tonic” as Ubrain calls them, you need. The questions quite simply revolve around what results the user wants, and offers a simple and easy way to get going with the app.
There are a variety of these different tonics within the software, offering everything from help with sleeping and reducing anxiety, to encouraging focus and energy. Once the tonic has been chosen, the user is advised to listen to the buzzing noise, as that is pretty much what they sound like, for a given length of time, ranging from 15 minutes upwards. For the binaural beats to take effect, the listener has to use headphones rather than just running it through the iPhone’s speakers.
Now, there are a number of different binaural beats apps available, with plenty more around on other platforms. What makes Ubrain different from all of the others is that the user can actually have the beats layered under their usual music. This is a great option as listening to buzzing noises can be a tad bit dull. However, listening to your usual music makes the process far more appealing and thus far more likely to work.
The software itself does seem to have a few problems at the moment, which will hopefully be ironed out in future updates. As it stands right now, the software is quite slow to react to input, which can lead to multiple button pressing and, on more than one occasion, crashing of the software. Also, another issue that I found was that I could not remove songs from the playlist to be used whilst listening to my tonic (which was a big mistake on my part as I accidentally added my entire iTunes library)
The app has a nice clean interface and, aside from the problems mentioned above, is really easy to use. Also, unlike a lot of binaural beat apps, Ubrain has decided against the usual clinical look and taken a much more friendly and inviting appearance.
There are plenty of people out there who swear by binaural beats and use them quite regularly to improve their lives. Whether or not they will work for you, only you can decide. But if you are going to give them a try, Ubrain offers simple and straightforward access to binaural beats. Being able to listen to your own music at the same time is an added bonus that raises this software above the rest.
Ubrain is available on the App Store for just Â£2.99