Brain training with a game: Joggle Research debuts app that can make you smarter

joggle1For a while now, there’s been a lot of attention on how smartphones can improve our physical health, from step-trackers to exercise-reward apps to calorie counters.

joggle2But that isn’t quite the case for another important part of our bodies: the brain. To help improve our mental health and provide exercises for our minds, one Seattle company has just debuted a new app to train our brains.

Seattle-based Joggle Research has been around for about two years. It started in 2011 developing software for NASA to perform space flight studies for astronauts with a cognitive test battery. Joggle then started working with several institutions and universities to provide its cognitive tests on the iPad for a variety of research projects dealing with everything from sleep deprivation to oxygen capacity during a workout.

Now, though, the team wants to offer its software to the general public in the form of a free-to-play game.

“We realized that many cognitive tests can be turned into games with benefits to a broad set of people,” said co-founder Thom McCann.

The app, which just debuted on iOS, is designed to keep you mentally sharp with a bevy of training games that test speed, memory and focus. It uses the same cognitive-testing platform that Joggle provides for the universities.

thommcann

Joggle Research CEO Thom McCann.

McCann, who created Outlook Web Access during his time at Microsoft, said that there are three target markets for the public app: People over the age of 65, mothers, and college students who have shown a need to compete in these types of games.

One other big player in this space is Silicon Valley-based Lumosity, which has raised more than $70 million to date. Joggle, which is bootstrapped and funded in some part by the research work mentioned above, differentiates itself in a few ways.

“Often times with other products, players have to play games and levels they don’t like,” McCann said. “We’ve aligned with the fact that people tend to have favorites and enable them to choose the game and level. We are delivering a native mobile-first experience rather than a translation of a flash-based game. Players progress through levels of their favored game and are challenged by progressively more difficult levels.”

There does seem to be room in the brain exercise space for other companies, especially when the selling point is a goal of keeping your brain sharp. Check out Joggle’s new app here.