Riding on the Brain Train

Brain training has been around for a long time, long before communication technology, let alone smartphones. Still, the updated versions of brain training available through free apps are certainly becoming fairly advanced.

Apps such as Lumosity break up the training into several domains, including memory, focus, problem solving and speed and flexibility of thinking. The whole approach of the app has been built around games, which have been proven to aid memory and the use of the brain into old age.

Another fascinating app designed purely for working with memory goes by the name of Eidetic. This encourages spaced repetition to help you learn important details, testing you over time.

The idea is that we both improve our memory but also learn practical content which we need in our daily lives, such as friends’ phone numbers. Memory Trainer focuses solely on memory as well, but explores both spatial and working memory through a set of different systemic forms of training.

Another very challenging app along these lines is iCue Memory, which is endorsed by the USA Memory Championship. Perhaps a little drier than some, this app focuses on hard memorization using strings of digits, and really puts your memory through its paces! They do have a card memory game which is a little more visually engaging, and it’s certainly a very functional app which will enhance your memory.

These devices are not only used for those who are memory fanatics, or those with a penchant for challenging brain games. The elderly can gain huge benefits from such technology, in staving off and living with both general forgetfulness and even various stages of actual dementia.

Of course, such apps need to be user friendly in order to provide best benefit, and such apps are emerging now. One academic study has been conducted into the use of mobile technology in aiding recall in those afflicted with brain-related memory issues, such as those suffering from brain injury or trauma.

The initial study was a 12 month clinical trial with a patient suffering from amnesia, and centres around use of a piece of kit known as a SenseCam, which takes a series of still images of user’s sense data during their day, providing periodic review. The trial suggested great benefits in terms of recall, and suggested that the use of SenseCam may be indicated for conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

The technology is developing fast, and if you want to get involved, you should be able to reap serious benefits for your brain health and memory… provided you can find your phone that is!


Hodges,S. (2006) Ubiquitous Computing, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 4206, 2006, pp 177-193.

Image via docent / Shutterstock.

Lorena Nessi, PhD, MA

Lorena Nessi PhD is an award winning journalist, researcher, and cultural sociologist. Her Bachelor's was in International Relations, Master’s degree in Globalization, Identity and Technology, and PhD in Communication, Sociology and Digital Cultures. She received the Avina scholarship for investigative journalism while working for the BBC. Her fields of interest include digital cultures, sociology, social media, technology and capitalism.
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