NASA patents technology to help sportsmen "get in the zone" quickly

It is well known in the field of performance psychology that the peak performance of a task, such as, for example, putting in golf, requires an optimal physiological state which is colloquially referred to as “being in the zone.”


NASA’s patented technology includes a portable device that provides performance-enhancing biofeedback training to the trainee. The novelty of the solution is that it tightly embeds the biofeedback training in the actual task whose performance is to be improved. Further, the training is operational in real-time, precisely at the moment when a task or exercise, such as an athletic or military maneuver, is required to be performed. So, the players can use the technology during practise before the match to get in the zone.


Biofeedback is a technology using which a subject is trained to exert conscious control over certain unconscious physiological functions, such as those discussed hereinabove. The measured values of physiological signals of a subject are received by a biofeedback device as inputs from a variety of biosensing devices and then displayed on an output device of the biofeedback device, i.e., “fed back” to the subject, so that the subject is able to monitor them and to learn to consciously control the physiological signals.


The patented technology can help players accomplish various tasks including putting in golf, foul shooting in basketball, serving in tennis, marksmanship in archery or on a gunnery range, shooting pool, or even throwing darts.


Patent Information
Publication number: US 9283468
Patent Title: Method and apparatus for performance optimization through physical perturbation of task elements
Publication date: 15 Mar 2016
Filing date: 13 Jan 2014
Inventors: Lawrence J. Prinzel, III; Alan T. Pope; Olafur S. Palsson; Marsha J. Turner;
Original Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration