Now you, too, can own a pair of Halo Sport headphones – CNET
This is the moment Daniel Chao has been waiting for.
For three years, his company’s Halo Sport headphones were sold only to pro and college teams, Olympic contenders and the military. Now, the high-end headphones are ready for public consumption. They go on sale Wednesday for $699 on the Halo Sport website.
The headphones shoot electrical impulses into the brain to create more synchronous connections between neurons and muscles — and thus allegedly improve athletic performance.
“We’re up to the challenge of bringing this to the masses,” Chao, co-founder of Halo Sport, said at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. “Sports science has definitely come a long way.”
The US Olympic ski team uses Halo, as do a slew of MLB, NFL and NBA teams. The 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors spent this past record-breaking season piloting the headphones. Other world-class athletes, like US Olympic track star Mike Rodgers, swear by them.
Count Oakland Raiders defensive back T.J. Carrie, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Marcus Smith and Cleveland Browns linebacker Demario Davis among the converted. Carrie has added more than seven inches to his standing vertical jump and more than 80 pounds to his weightlifting squats in the past five months. He attributes the gains to his use of the headphones.
Many athletes use wearable devices to improve their performance and apps to measure their technique. However, Halo headphones are unique in that they attempt to influence physical performance by stimulating the brain. The theory behind them is that a stronger brain equals a stronger body.
Halo uses a technology known as tDCS — transcranial direct current stimulation — to shoot electrical currents through the brain. The headphones’ foam spikes act as electrodes to speed up the neurons to the brain’s motor cortex, a practice called “neuropriming.”
Halo claims that neuropriming can improve an athlete’s strength, explosiveness and dexterity during workouts.
Chao, a medical doctor, and Brett Wingeier, a biomedical engineer, founded Halo Neuroscience in 2013. The pair previously were part of the creative team behind NeuroPace, a device approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014 to treat epileptic seizures.
More than 50 professional and college teams currently use Halo, said Chao, declining to name them due to privacy and competitive reasons.
Carrie, who is having a breakout year for the AFC West-leading Raiders, said he met Chao earlier this year when the NFL players union was introducing new technology during the run-up to Super Bowl 50, the most tech-focused bowl game in history.
Carrie said that he used the headphones to improve his lower body during off-season workouts this summer and that the benefits have carried over into this season. The third-year player, considered one of the top 10 cornerbacks in the NFL, has gotten more playing time this season than in the past.
“One of my main focuses was to improve my sense of explosion, counter reaction and overall quickness, especially from a reactionary position,” Carrie said as the Raiders were enjoying a bye week. “My team and my coaches are depending on me and I want to be able to feel confident in my abilities to play at a high level.”
Carrie is hoping more of his teammates are willing to give Halo a try. Chao said he can see the headphones having an impact on Carrie.
“He’s been working his ass off,” Chao said of Carrie. “He’s showing that even a millimeter makes the difference between a touchdown, an incompletion or an interception.”