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Proteus, Mind Machine

James Kent

Can a box that creates blinky lights and sonic pulses produce true transcendent experiences? Maybe it depends on the programmer.

Far be it from me to ever recommend an electronic gadget as a cure to life's ills, but as electronic gadgets go the Proteus definitely has something to offer. Of all the mind-machines I've seen and tried the Proteus is by far my favorite, managing to pack a wide range of features into a compact little unit. The simplicity of the interface and design makes it attractive and easy to work with, but it is also highly programmable and capable of the best targeted electronic mind stimulation money can buy.

Synetic Systems, the makers of the Proteus, really had a coherent vision in mind when designing the entire package. In addition to 50 preset sessions that last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, the Proteus comes equipped with PC interface and a flash-ROM which holds the upgradeable operating system and over 100 editable user sessions of any length. Yes, you can do almost anything with the Proteus within the range of 0.4 and 50 hz, or pulses per second. This frequency range covers a wide spectrum of human consciousness, and for most brain-entrainment exercises it is more than adequate. I have not tried all of the presets on the Proteus, but I have used it long enough to find some favorites, primarily the visualization and relaxation series. It was only after having it for many weeks that I decided to get into the session-editing software, ProtEd, which was a small learning curve but well worth the effort. The software is Win32 compatible, but I had some problems getting it to work properly on my NT machine. I eventually installed it on a Win98 machine and it worked great, enabling me to create and edit my very first auto-hypnotic mind-machine program.

My adventure into programming a mind-machine session opened a window into the hidden arts and subtleties of brain stimulation. Programming the audio and light-strobe effects on the Proteus is very similar to programming a digital synthesizer, and it helped me understand how the concepts of pulse and pitch are universal to all human communication. With tools like ProtEd at your disposal, the Proteus essentially becomes new form of media, a delivery device for direct mind communication that can be as elaborately structured as thought or music or spoken language. I believe that when mind machines like the Proteus become cheaper and more mainstream then more artists and musicians will pick them up and start designing custom sessions to go along with their music, poetry, etc. Direct brainwave stimulation is the natural extension of any fully immersive media, so you better get used to it because it will eventually catch on. Our kids will be tuned into these things one day soon, and then their brains will be plugged directly into the computer, TV, radio, toaster, whatever...

I originally thought I would tire of this machine after a few weeks, but just the opposite has happened. I have found it indispensable just the way it is — using it as an adjunct to meditation and as a sleep aid — and look forward to the time when I can sit down and fully explore the extended features. Since its very operating system can be upgraded I am guessing that any able minded hacker can wring uses out of this pocket pulse generator that were not initially intended, but I am still exploring basic functionality. New sessions and operating system upgrades are available through the manufacturer's website, and there is the promise of more real-time programmable PC control in the future. With a price at just under $200 the Proteus is one of the cheaper programmable mind machines on the market today. If you are serious about exploring targeted brain states and getting up to speed on new brain stimulation technologies, the Proteus is an excellent and affordable way to start, and once you have it you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

For More Information

Synetic Systems:
Mind Modulations:

Tags : psychedelic
Rating : Teen - Drugs
Posted on: 2001-07-29 00:00:00