ELF emmit

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ELF emmit
ELF emmit.jpg
Category Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Developer Medwell d.o.o
Announced July 2016 [1]
Released Developers:
Consumers: September 2016 [1]
Price 129.00 USD [2]
Max output 0.000022mA
2.2e-5 T
2.2e-8 A
Session duration 7200 s
120 minute
[3]
Scalp location Oz
Weight 19.8 g [2]
Controls

smartphone, tablet [1]

Data available
Risk factor
Medical prescription no
https://www.elfemmit.com/

ELF emmit is a wearable device that is supposed to provide a neurostimulation. It delivers electromagnetic pulses into the backside of a user's scalp, which should affected user's brainwaves and in this way affected user's mood and concentration. It uses the method of Pulsed Electromagnetic Stimulation (PEMS).[1]

It is head-mounted U-shaped device which is placed at the backside of the head. In the middle of the device is a coil, which produces electromagnetic pulses. The device is made of plastic and is powered by smartphone through a user's headphone jack. The sessions are controlled via an app in a user's smartphone.[3] The device was developed by Ljubljana based company Medwell d.o.o.[4]

Main Characteristics

ELF emmit is head-mounted device, which delivers electromagnetic pulses to user's brain. It does not contain battery, the power is delivered from user's smartphone to which it has to be linked through a headphone jack. The device is made from polycarbonate, thermoplastic polyurethane, copper lacquered wire and ferrite. It is controlled by an app and compatible with iOS and Android operating systems. The pulses are delivered in the frequency which ranges from 0.2 Hz to 19 Hz, in accordance with the chosen session.[1] The pulses are delivered by an electromagnetic coil, which is placed in the middle part of the device.[5] The device can provide five different sessions, focussed on concentration, sleep improvement, deep-learning, stress reduction and mediation.[3] The length of sessions varies from 30 minutes to 120 minutes.[6] The method is based on the assumption that the frequency of pulses make brain to change frequency of its waves to the same frequency and change the mood of the users by this way.[1]

The history of electromagnetic stimulation is described in the transcranial magnetic stimulation entry. The history of the device started in 1980 when the developers thought for the first time about the device which resembles ELF emmit. In 2006, they decided to build it, but the first prototype appeared in 2013. The prototype ways battery-powered, even though, they later turned to the device powered by a headphone jack. The following year the team grew as they hired Joze Barbaric, the former Bosch-Siemens engineer and several other members of the development team. They also developed the app in 2014. In 2016, they began testing of the device and IndieGoGo campaign was started. The campaign was very successful as it reached 414% of its goal. The shipping began in September 2016.[1]

Purpose

The purpose of the device is to enhance users' concentration and deep-learning, improve sleeping and meditation, and reduce stress.

Company & People

ELF emmit is manufactured by the company Medwell d.o.o. that seats in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  • Urban Butinar: a director of the company Medwell d.o.o.[7]
  • Dušan Petek: a member of a team that developed ELF emmit[8]
  • Joze Barbaric: a member of a team that developed ELF emmit
  • Andrej Regorsek: a member of a team that developed ELF emmit
  • Marco Kadunc: a member of a team that developed ELF emmit[1]
  • Noah Charney: was responsible for general consulting and copy-writing[9]

Important Dates

  • 2006: the developers agreed to develop a device like ELF emmit
  • December 2013: the prototype of the device was built
  • 2014: the app that controls device was developed
  • May 2016: ELF emmit was tested at University of Maribor
  • July 2016: IndieGoGo campaign started
  • September 2016: ELF emmit began shipping[1]

Enhancement/Therapy/Treatment

The placement of ELF emmit

There are five different programs that provides enhancement and treatment. The manufacturer argues that the device could enhance memory and a concentration, could improve a sleep and a meditation and could reduce stress.[10]

The session, which is supposed to improve learning and memory, consists in pulses delivered in a frequency 8 Hz.[10] The session takes 120 minutes. The device delivers pulses in a frequency 18 Hz for 120 minutes in the session, which is designed for improving of a user's concentration. The meditation should be improved by the session when the device deliver pulses in a frequency 8 Hz for 30 minutes, and a sleep by the session when ELF emmit delivers pulses in a frequency 5 Hz for 35 minutes. Finally, the manufacturer claims that the pulses in a frequency 10 Hz delivered for 40 minutes could reduce stress.[1] The coil which delivers pulses is placed approximately in Oz region in all sessions. The precise placement is not described and even differed in various photographs distributed by the manufacturer. The manufacturer claims that ELF emmit stimulates a cerebellum.[11]

The method of stimulation is described as pulsed electromagnetic therapy and the manufacturer claims that it is approved by FDA.[10] However, the low frequency pulsed electromagnetic therapy, which is used by ELF emmit,[1] is neither widely acknowledged to be effective, nor its impacts on human beings are properly understood.[12] The manufacturer also does not indicate on which research is based the placement of the coil or a precise coil placement, as will be discussed in the following section.

Ethical & Health Issues

There were not conducted a research which identified either ethical or health issues caused by ELF emmit. Nonetheless, certain issues was reported by its users and reviewers. Namely, ELF emmit could cause headache. It is deemed that the ache is caused by the stimulation of the muscles behind the device.[3]

Additionally, the device was not proven to be effective by any peer-reviewed research yet. It is possible that the device is ineffective and consequently it does not provide its users the relief they paid for.[3]

Finally, it is quite easy to misplace the coil, which might have different than desired effects, since in this case the device would stimulate a different brain region.[3] The manufacturers even do not identify a precise placement of the coil as the users in his advertisement and photos, which they distributed wear a device in a various position in the back of the head.[1]

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

There are many customers' reviews of ELF emmit. The evaluation differs radically. While some customers appreciate the device and declare that it really helped them, other customers have certain issues with its quality or denied that ELF emmit is efficient.[13]

The efficacy of the device is doubted also by the debaters on Reddit. The debater 'barbequelighter' says:
I asked a Mechanical Engineer about ELF Emmit. He said, “Yeah, this is bullshit. In TMS, the instantaneous coil current is actually very high, into the kiloamps. A headphone output will provide maybe 500 mW of power into some fairly high resistance. All they did was put that output through a very small coil. In other words, if this worked, we would be dead if we brought our heads next to a power transformer.”[14]
The example of typos in the booklet
Several customers report that the ELF emmit unit is quite fragile. For instance, Todd Michael Schultz in his blog-post claims:
I cannot recommend the Elf Emmit. It simply breaks too easily, is too flimsy for me. The effects are present to a degree, but obviously very subtle. I think the technology wow isn't really present in this unit.[15]

Certain customers and reviewers point out that ELF emmit's booklet contains grammar mistakes.[16][5]

The method of stimulation is discussed profoundly by Marian Sauter, Psychology and Neuroscience researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, in his blog-post. He claims that he has not conducted any research with the device yet but he plans to conduct some in a future. He considerably questions assumptions on which ELF emmit is based. Firstly, he points out that the stimulation of cerebellum does not have effects that the manufactures of ELF emmit argue it has. In addition, the coil is placed in a position in which it actually does not stimulate cerebellum but inion, which is responsible for vision. Secondly, Sauter doubts that the stimulation has any effect in a brain, since the magnetic field which the device produces it very low, 10.000 times weaker than the regular transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is usually 1T. Thirdly, he argues that the method which is used in ELF emmit, was not sufficiently proved to be effective. He concludes:
Taken together, this means that there is zero scientific basis for why the EE [ELF emmit] should function in the way it is advertised. The people who currently claim it works are probably falling for a placebo effect. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the relaxing or concentrating effect of using the EE is still real. It’s just not because of the device itself but rather the hopes and beliefs you attach to using it.[17]

Public Policy

The manufacturer claims that ELF emmit is not a medical device, therefore it does not require a prescription and it is not regulated by FDA.[10]

Related Technologies, Projects, or Scientific Research

Although the manufacturers claim that they tested ELF emmit,[1] there has not been published any peer-reviewed paper yet, which deals with ELF emmit.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 BUTINAR, Urban. ELF emmit: A Wearable for the Optimized Self. Indiegogo [online]. Available online at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/elf-emmit-a-wearable-for-the-optimized-self-sleep#/ (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Elfemmit. ELF emmit. Elfemmit [online]. Available online at: https://www.elfemmit.com/elf-emmit (Retrieved 5th May, 2017).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 STRAIN, Logan. Elf Emmit: Review. WearableZone [online]. 2017, Feb 17th. Available online at: https://wearablezone.com/device/Elf-emmit-mind-wearable-review/ (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  4. Elfemmit. Terms of Use. Elfemmit [online]. Available online at: https://www.elfemmit.com/terms-of-use (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  5. 5.0 5.1 PAREDES, Rebecca. The Elf Emmit Allegedly Helps You Focus, Sleep, And Meditate Like A Champ. WearableZone [online]. 2016, Nov 11th. Available online at: https://wearablezone.com/news/elf-emmit-review-wearables (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  6. Gadget Junkie. ELF Emmit: Brain Hacking Wearable Changes Your State Of Mind. Gadgetify [online]. 2016, Jul 22. Available online at: http://www.gadgetify.com/elf-emmit-brain-hacking/ (Retrieved 21st July, 2017).
  7. CompanyWall. MEDWELL d.o.o. CompanyWall [online]. Available online at: http://www.companywall.si/podjetje/medwell-doo/189566 (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  8. F6S. ELF EMMIT: Wearable device that eliminates stress, insomnia & lack of concentration. F6S [online]. Available online at: https://www.f6s.com/elfemmit (Retrieved 1st August, 2017).
  9. CHARNEY, Noah. The Art of Brain-Hacking. Versopolis [online]. Available online at: http://www.versopolis.com/panorama/198/the-art-of-brain-hacking (Retrieved 17th July, 2017).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Elfemmit. The Science: How it works. Elfemmit [online]. Available online at: https://www.elfemmit.com/how-it-works (Retrieved 21st July, 2017).
  11. Elf emmit. Elf emmit. YouTube [online]. 2016, Jun 20. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5xAjwGt4Os (Retrieved 21st July, 2017).
  12. CAPONE, F. et al. Does exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields produce functional changes in human brain?. Journal of Neural Transmission [online]. 2009, Feb 3. Doi: 10.1007/s00702-009-0184-2 Available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00702-009-0184-2 (Retrieved 21st July, 2017).
  13. Amazon. Elf emmit. Amazon [online]. Available online at: https://www.amazon.com/ELF-emmit-Non-Invasive-Stimulating-Concentration/product-reviews/B01M738J1M (Retrieved 1st August, 2017)
  14. barbequelighter. Comments: ELF emmit: A Wearable for the Optimized Self. Reddit [online]. 2016, Sep 6. Available online at: https://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS/comments/515be2/elf_emmit_a_wearable_for_the_optimized_self/ (Retrieved 1st August, 2017).
  15. SCHULTZ, Todd Michael. The Elf Emmit - A Tentative Review. The 30 Year Old [online]. 2017, Jan 9. Available online at: http://the30yearold.blogspot.cz/2017/01/the-elf-emmit-tentative-review.html (Retrieved 1st August, 2017).
  16. Amazon Customer. Customer Review: Don't bother. Amazon [online]. 2017, Jul 1. Available online at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R159P1J7NUKQPX/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01M738J1M (Retrieved 1st August, 2017).
  17. SAUTER, Marian. Testing the “ELF emmit: Mind & Body Assistant” – The Science. Marian Sauter Blog [online]. 2017, Mar 8. Available online at: http://www.mariansauter.de/2017/03/testing-the-elf-emmit-mind-body-assistant-the-science/ (Retrieved 1st August, 2017).