first_imgDOHA, QatarKaliese Spencer is more determined than ever to win her first senior championships medal in the 400m hurdles this year.Spencer, who turns 29 today, twice finished fourth at the World Championships and once at the Olympics.She will today compete in the first meet of the 2016 Diamond League series being held in Doha, Qatar, having won the Diamond trophy in her pet event in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. But even the circuit will have to take a back seat this season, with the Olympics being her priority.”This (Diamond League) is definitely not my focus for this season. I am just focused on staying healthy and getting to the Olympics, and that’s my main focus, getting there and getting a medal,” Spencer said.Spencer has in the past been accused by local track and field fans of giving of her best on the circuit and falling short in the championship races. However, she blames her shortcomings at the World Championships and Olympics on injuries and said she would be out to quiet the doubters this time around.MORE FOCUSED”I am more focused right now, and I just need to stay healthy. I am always getting hurt, so once I am healthy, I should be good,” Spencer said.Spencer, who, with 21 wins in the 400m hurdles on the Diamond League circuit, is the most successful track athlete in the history of the series, split from the Stephen Francis-led MVP Track Club in 2015 after 10 years. She is now a member of Cameron Blazers, led by the 1983 four hundred metre World champion Bert Cameron.”Training has been going good. Great people and being there is like a family, so I am just trying to stay healthy, and once I am healthy, I believe that it should be a great season,” Spencer said. “He (Cameron) is a great 400m coach, and I have a lot of persons there working with me as well for the hurdles, so they are really trying their best to get me into top shape for the championships.”Spencer will get to test exactly where she is at the moment when she lines up against two-time reigning World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, who denied her the Diamond trophy in the event last year.”I just want to ensure that my stride pattern is correct and getting my rhythm. It is a bit off,” Spencer revealed. “So once I can get the stride pattern and the rhythm, it should be a good race.”ryon.jones@gleanerjm.comlast_img read more

first_imgBoosters say toys with even the most basic brain-wave-reading technology – scheduled to debut later this year – could boost mental focus and help kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and mood disorders. But scientific research is scant. Even if the devices work as promised, some question whether people who use biofeedback devices will be able to replicate their relaxed or focused states in real life, when they’re not attached to equipment in front of their television or computer. Elkhonon Goldberg, author of “The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older,” said the toys might catch on in a society obsessed with optimizing performance, but he was skeptical they’d reduce the severity of major behavioral disorders. “These techniques are used usually in clinical contexts. The gaming companies are trying to push the envelope,” said Goldberg, a clinical professor of neurology at New York University. “You can use computers to improve the cognitive abilities, but it’s an art.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN JOSE – A convincing twin of Darth Vader stalks the beige cubicles of a Silicon Valley office, complete with ominous black mask, cape and light saber. But this is no chintzy Halloween costume. It’s a prototype, years in the making, of a toy using brain-wave-reading technology. Behind the mask is a sensor that touches the user’s forehead and reads the brain’s electrical signals, then sends them to a wireless receiver inside the saber, which lights up when the user is concentrating. The player maintains focus by channeling thoughts on any fixed mental image, or thinking specifically about keeping the light sword on. When the mind wanders, the wand goes dark. Engineers at NeuroSky Inc. have big plans for brain-wave-reading toys and video games. They say the simple Darth Vader game, a relatively crude biofeedback device cloaked in gimmicky garb, portends the coming of more sophisticated devices that could revolutionize the way people play. Technology from NeuroSky and other startups could make video games more mentally stimulating and realistic. It could even enable players to control avatars in virtual worlds or video game characters with nothing but their thoughts. Adding biofeedback to “Tiger Woods PGA Tour,” for instance, could mean that only those players who muster Zen-like concentration could nail a putt. In the popular first-person shooter “Grand Theft Auto,” players who become nervous or frightened would have worse aim than those who remain relaxed and focused. NeuroSky’s prototype measures a person’s baseline brain-wave activity, including signals that relate to concentration, relaxation and anxiety. The technology ranks performance in each category on a scale of 1 to 100, and the numbers change as a person thinks about relaxing images, focuses intently or gets kicked, interrupted or otherwise distracted. The technology is similar to that in more sensitive, expensive equipment that athletes use to achieve peak performance. Koo Hyoung Lee, a NeuroSky co-founder from South Korea, used biofeedback to improve concentration and relaxation techniques for members of his country’s Olympic archery team. “Most physical games are really mental games,” said Lee, also chief technology officer at San Jose-based NeuroSky, a 12-employee company founded in 1999. “You must maintain attention at very high levels to succeed. This technology makes toys and video games more lifelike.” last_img read more