Mindball is a slightly surreal take on table soccer, where players move the ball with nothing but their brain waves. To compete successfully, you . . . don’t compete. Just close your eyes, relax, and empty your head.
Okay, so it’s not a great spectator sport, but since last fall, Hannell’s Swedish startup, Interactive Productline, has been selling Mindball tables, at $19,000 a throw, to educational science centers, spas, and corporate retreats from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Singapore. For the stressed-out CEO who has everything, there’s a handsome $33,000 walnut version.
Mindball is played on a 4-foot-long table by two people with electrodes taped to their foreheads. These biosensors detect alpha and theta brain waves–generated during intense concentration and deep relaxation–and correspondingly instruct a computer inside the table to move a rubber-coated steel ball via a magnetic sleigh below the surface.
The object is to roll the ball from the center spot into your opponent’s end zone. The more focused and relaxed you are, counterintuitively, the faster you win. Competitiveness and aggression are counterproductive. Strategy, decision making, and hand-eye coordination count for nothing. “You compete by being calm–a complete contradiction,” says Hannell. In Mindball, you attack by relaxing even more, and you react by not reacting.