Light/Sound Technology Information

Welcome to the Photosonix Light/Sound Information page. Here are answers to some questions we are asked about light/sound systems. If you have one not answered here, please e-mail us, we'll be happy to help.

Teach Me

What are Mind Machines?
What are the features of a typical System?
Why do they work?
The detailed explanation of Light/Sound Technology.
How do I use a Light/Sound system?

Tell Me

Why choose Photosonix?
What are the medical uses of a Light/Sound system?

Sell Me

What are Mind Machines?

A Light/Sound Synthesizer or Mind Machine is a microprocessor controlled device designed to create relaxation or other mood changing effects through the use of sound and light stimulation. The user puts on headphones and stimulation light frames, selects a session, and sits back and enjoys the experience, which can be for relaxation, stimulation, meditation or just plain fun depending on the session.

What are the features of a typical Mind Machine?

A system consists of a light/sound synthesizer, stereo head phones, and stimulation light frames with pulsating lights. Built-in light/sound sessions direct the synthesis, creating a carefully composed sequence of rhythmic light and sound patterns. The tone, frequency, pitch and other parameters of the light and sound stimulation vary the effect, just as different styles of music do.Many Photosonix products have computer interface capabilities that allow additional sessions to be downloaded, for continual growth and variety. Photosonix products are easy to use, even the most complex has the "turn it on, select a session, press PLAY" interface.

How do they work?

Perhaps better questions are: "Why do we enjoy music... why is a flickering flame hypnotic?" Light/Sound systems are the technological synthesis of centuries of exploration and a few years of neurological experiments. They capture the essence of how we relax, enjoy a good song, or visualize in the presence of a communal campfire. All without driving to the woods or hiring a band.

The detailed explanation of Light/Sound Technology.

The following is from the Mind Machine Buyers Guide, by Neuro Technology Research:

Electronic Prozac?
Mental Health Vitamins?
Training Wheels for Inner Stillness-the Relaxation Response?

A modern light/sound synthesizer is a microprocessor controlled device designed to create stimulation with several controlled parameters: (frequency, volume, intensity, tone, pitch, phase, duty cycle) and various other features. A typical machine will have a number of built-in sessions that provide sequences of changing stimulation, designed by the session composer using the basic repertoire of machine features. Some machines are programmable, meaning the user can create his or her own sessions, and some can download sessions from cassette tape, CD, or a personal computer.

The quality of the built-in sessions is very important unless you plan to compose everything yourself. Creating sessions for a light/sound synthesizer is still an art form -- there is no known "best protocol" for a relaxation session (or any other kind of session), and session designers will argue hotly over the best approaches. Different people have different reactions to sessions, so using one of these machines is a bit of an exploratory journey. Research with light/sound systems and EEG measurements is progressing and the next few years will see exciting advances in our understanding.

How do I use a light/sound system?

To use a light/sound system, close your eyes, put the headphones and light frames on, listen to the pulsating sound, and watch the flickering lights through your eyelids. The sound pulsates either because it is turned on and off (like striking a note on the piano repeatedly) or because of beats or binaural beats. The flickering lights, seen through closed eyelids, create moving, colored, dynamic patterns (visuals) that will amaze you the first time you experience them. You can move your eyes and change the effect, you can concentrate on the patterns and change what they seem to be doing. Some people report seeing visions in the patterns as the imagination is inspired to work. The stimulation takes over your two main sensory inputs, and not surprisingly has an effect on your mental state. Music has been doing this for centuries, without the assist from coordinated flickering lights.

A beginning user should experience a session regularly (every day or close to that) for the first few weeks. Don't overdo it, an hour a day is a lot. Intermittent use is not effective until you have learned how to respond to the stimulation. Light/sound systems are safe for most people, but can cause problems for a small fraction of the population -- see Cautions.

Light/sound systems are used as tools by many professional therapists. They can be used safely by untrained persons for relaxation, learning enhancement, meditation tools, and many other purposes, but not for relief from any medical condition. If you are seeking help for a medical condition, please see a trained professional. You may want to look for one who uses light sound in his/her practice, but "don't try it yourself -- those people are professionals".

Why choose Photosonix?

Photosonix products are designed and built by Microfirm, Inc. which has been in business longer than any other manufacturer of Light/Sound systems. Photosonix products are leaders in innovation, while concentrating on the effective uses of light sound. We avoid gimmicks like flashing lights that respond to any music. We have made the sound, with dual binaural beats and ramping pitch, fun by itself so you don't have to hook up a CD player to have an enjoyable session. (Of course, you can if you want to). We have one of the broadest product lines in the industry, so you can find the system that is right for you. We strive to maintain the outstanding quality of our products. We design all of our products to be solid and highly durable. All our systems come with excellent headphones and bright, well constructed light frames and a 1 year warranty.

What are the medical uses of a Light/Sound machine?

Photosonix products are designed for avocational and recreational purposes. No medical claims are made for Photosonix products, express or implied. They are not medical devices and should not be used for the relief of any medical condition. Please consult with your licensed medical practitioner prior to use for any other purpose as the machine is not intended as a replacement for medical or psychological treatment. Our products are not intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body.

Sell Me

If you are searching for relaxation, for the elusive moments of calmness and clarity, for a quick break in a hectic life, for self improvement, these tools are a fresh approach that is working for a lot of people and most likely will work for you as well. Your mind and your body work better when calm and not stressed, relaxation is good for you.