The feeling of a couple of wines without the hangover, a caffeine jolt without the coffee. 

When I first heard about Thync, I thought it must be either a scam or some kind of terrible joke created by Silicon Valley eggheads to see just how many people would stick electrodes to their head instead of opening a bottle of wine.

But the founders of Thync are deadly serious, and CEO Isy Goldwasser explains there’s nothing strange about attaching a small plastic Bluetooth radio to your neck and temple using disposable adhesive strips and then opening an app which sends out tiny pulses of electricity that make you feel either relaxed or stimulated depending on the setting.

You’d think the regulatory bodies would be all over this one, and you’d be wrong. The justification is that the Thync is not a medical device and is used for relaxation and is only administered by the user themselves. But on Thync’s website, it explains that

“Thync works by signalling nerves on the head and neck to act on the brain’s adrenaline system. These nerves then activate your body’s natural state of energy or calm.”

However, in an interview with Tech Crunch, Goldwasser said the module doesn’t stimulate neurons in the brain but rather the skin, which then activates the instinctive fight or flight response in the brain to indirectly affect emotional response. Either marketing and management are not communicating well, or there is some awfully convenient positioning going on to avoid government involvement.

Judging by tests conducted by a number of reputable sources such as Mashable, Gizmodo and others, it seems that the Thync actually works. Reporters speak of slurring their words, feeling relaxed or bursting with energy as one may after a shot of espresso. And this is where the purpose of this technology gets blurred – if I want to feel like I’ve had a couple of wines, I’ll have a couple of wines. I enjoy my mid-afternoon visit to the local cafe and certainly wouldn’t trade it in to attach adhesive strips to my head.

Then there’s the cost. At $199USD, it’s not a cheap alternative to Starbucks. And there are the ongoing costs of the adhesive strips, after 5 to 15 uses they have to be replaced and each pack is $20USD. I’m a big fan of hacks they can make life easier or improve difficult areas of life, but the Thync is one piece of hacker technology that won’t be getting near my brain.