I asked a Mechanical Engineer about ELF Emmit. This is what he said.

From their indiegogo page:

ELF emmit: A Wearable for the Optimized Self

ELF emmit improves focus, sleep, stress, & more, combining ancient traditions and modern technology.

ELF emmit uses non-invasive and FDA Approved technology to actively influence positive change in your daily life by emitting pulses at specific frequencies, optimized to attain a desired state of mind, at any given moment.

They claim they can change any one of the 5 brainwave types: gamma, beta, alpha, delta, or theta by emitting “pulses” at certain frequencies.

I have a friend who is a mechanical engineer. He previously worked for companies that manage proton therapy systems and had enough of an electrical engineer background to consider building his own TMS device.

I showed him the indiegogo page and this is what he said:

“Yeah, this is bullshit. In TMS, the instantaneous coil current is actually very high, into the kiloamps. A headphone output will provide maybe 500 mW of power into some fairly high resistance. All they did was put that output through a very small coil. In other words, if this worked, we would be dead if we brought our heads next to a power transformer.”

So yeah. ELF Emmit = Snake Oil. $119 Snake Oil.



39 thoughts on “I asked a Mechanical Engineer about ELF Emmit. This is what he said.

  1. See, I would love for something like this to work. I’d love to get a good night’s sleep with little effort. But I’m not shocked to see it be snake oil.

  2. Except tDCS does work powered off of a 9v battery. This is what I’m trying to figure out. Is this working in the same way that tDCS works, which is to send very low voltage to different parts of the brain for various effects, or is this just a $120 piece of new age snake oil. If it’s not low volume age, are they achieving similar results via a different method. What I want to see is a real double blind case study on the product.

  3. There is something that really exists that is similar to this, but it is insanely expensive and the size of a dentist chair (and even this has smaller claims than ELF). Plus, you’ll have to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist to use it, and those sessions will be expensive. Until the APA backs this, and as Jim says we see some double blind studies done by reputable colleges or researchers, this should be seen as a scam.


  4. I decided to buy into the snake oil since I am a healthcare analyst, and saw an advertisement while writing up an article for work. Intrigued by the idea, I ordered mine and decided to do some more digging. While I was waiting for mine to arrive, I found there are no published academics from any health institutions, university or otherwise, in the world on this device. I also found the US location is actually an offshore address based in Jersey. The “owner” seemingly has no medical background, or medical engineering, and based on the details the website states of when the idea for the Elf was created, would have been a toddler. After I systematically broke down the website, I noted the disclaimer that this was not a medical device, and therefore does not need FDA approval or regulation. I too questioned a friend on the claims of the electromagnetic pulse output, and his response was a resounding “Hell no. Just listen to some music with that proposed frequency, that’s all its really doing”. Meanwhile I got an email asking me what color Is like mine in, so I asked for blue. Mine was shipped on time, from Slovenia this past week. Instead of blue, I got white. There SHOULD have been a printed insert, as a packaging picture details however, I got nothing. Googling offered me an app, that essentially sucks. I felt nothing when I had it on at any level. So I’m in total agreement on traveling salesman snake oil pitch.

  5. I fell for this snake oil as well. When I tried to return it to Slovenia, wherever the f..k that is in Europe, it will cost $88. They will not take it if it is returned via USPS because it can’t be tracked. So now I’m stuck with $129 snake oil that serves no purpose. Good lesson for me to learn that when it sounds to outrageous to be true then it is too outrageous and therefore do not fall into the trap. And to look and see where the company is based and where they are shipping from. Expensive lesson indeed.

    • I returned mine and I’m still waiting for a refund a month and a half after sending it back. Customer service is crap and they make the refund process really difficult. Definite snake oil

  6. Yes, it’s probably snake oil. BUT…

    Your mechanical engineer friend is suddenly a highly qualified electrical/ electronic engineer? Amps and volts/ nuts and bolts.

    There is no evidence in your review/rant/opinion based on any actual research or testing. If you want to be taken seriously, provide references based on sound academic research.

    It is totally absurd to think that if someone could affect the ability of every human to concentrate, sleep on demand, relax or whatever else the claims make, that the device would be on sale for a measly 100 odd $. The fact that the company website provides zero information relating to research or fact would raise the alarm as to the legitimacy of the product. you could have started with that statement rather than confusing mechanical with electrical.

    • It doesn’t take a highly qualified electrical/electronic engineer to understand the most basic of electrical engineering. I worked on 3D phased array radar in the navy – the most basic entry level “let’s see if you’re not an idiot” electronics education (Neets mods) are used first to introduce electronics to the average recruit and they cover the very thing this guy said. Hell, those 60-in-one kids electronics experiment “toys” I used to play with in grade school teach this concept.

      Mash that basic knowledge with a smattering of critical thinking about how power is generated and then transmitted over distance and you’d be able to draw the same conclusion.

      You don’t need “actual research” to know water is wet. You can use physics and chemistry to explain the nature of a fluid at an atomic level, but you don’t need to be a physicist nor a chemist.

      This is the same thing. Your rant (and then somewhat confusing agreement with the OP’s friend using an even less “scientific” argument) is invalid.

  7. https://www.hemi-sync.com May I suggest one of these? I was turned on to the Monroe institute maybe 20 years ago at a meditation workshop. We put on headphones, the track started and I fell “asleep”….deep relaxation. After that round,I asked the workshop leader if I could watch but not participate in the next round. So I slipped one of the headphones off and listen in just one ear as I watched my friends talking and then one by one slip into deep meditation. They use two different sounds in each ear which causes a you to hear a “wave” sound that only exists in your head space, it occupies your conscious brain. This is an over simplified explanation but I have used, still use it. Go to the sight and read about it if you like. I use the pink noise to help me study and I have a favorite meditation track. For $15 your not out big buck to see if you like it.

  8. The electronic engineer does not have enough understanding of the aim of this method to make a criticism. All of these sorts of brainwave entrainment work in a very different way to TMS and at very much lower power. I use a device called Alphastim- which operates off 2XAA batteries. It is about 10X more expensive than this device, but far more versatile- especially in treating chronic pain syndromes. The power required for these devices is really very low- as brainwaves entrain easily to any background pattern whether it be ELF or binaural beats (acoustic).
    The alpha-stim site is very impressive and an enormous amount of research has been done and is all available on their site.
    Now THAT is how you do a website.
    ElfEmmit probably has an effect- but there is nothing on their site to say what research has been done on how effective their device is in entraining brainwave patterns and to me that is a negative against this company.

    • Seriously? You send this and think it’s credible? Im looking for FDA clearance papers, double blind trials with placebos, utilizing trials and physicians in the U.S., and not advertisements deemed news, or opinion articles from heath magazines or other likewise publications. Yes, their website is put together better than that rip off Elf….regardless it contains no new information. Show me the makers of the Alpha Stim product timed trials with subsequent outcomes and their FDA approval.

      • The page contained tons of links to white papers and other clinical research that showed the effectiveness of electrotherapy stimulation. It gave all the links to the the exact scientific research papers that you were asking for. The website was merely a starting point that conveniently compiled scientific research from around the world. I doubt you downloaded and read a single pdf file. Had you done so, you would see that the company has nothing to do with the research itself, but rather was using existing research to help justify the effectiveness of their product. And furthermore, FDA approval is not the be all and end all of everything. They are constantly recalling FDA approved drugs that were later found to kill people. And over here in Europe there are certain treatments that are approved that the FDA won’t even look at, let alone approve. Similarly, certain FDA approved drugs are banned in Europe because we have opposing research showing that the treatment is dangerous. So if science is unbiased, how is it that in different parts of the world, the research used to justify the approval or disapproval of a product conflicts with the research used in a different part of the world? I am American born, and have learned that their is a huge conflict of interest between what American doctors think and what European doctors believe. And each points to different studies to back up their claims. There are a lot of politics and corporate interests invested into the FDA and although I will consider what they say, I always take it with a grain of salt. The more interesting question is whether this alpha-stim product is in accordance with the same devices used during the clinical trials. Otherwise the research they are using to back their product means nothing.

      • I really do appriciate your comment. It was thought out and well written. That being said, in fact I really did download and read several links that the website referred to. My criticism was directed toward what I was looking for from ELF, and any other unit that states their product can do exactly what was proven in these studies. From everything I read, neither Elf or the other product were the exact designs tested in these trials, all I gathered was the science behind an idea and the proven results. All medical equipment designed to give a specific result goes through design trials, to prove consistant delivery of method, and be apporoved by the FDA. That’s usually when clinical trials go down. I get what your saying by not trusting the FDA, I harbor some of that feeling myself. I don’t have much scientific equipment at my house, but I did take apart the Elf, and I did get a ohm meter out to see if it gave off anything electrical, and although it did, it was not consistant and actually varied wildly in pulse. And that is the scary part to me. When you have a product on the public market, in a design that has not been proven to provide a consistant result, and could potentially spike a seizure activity, that is irresponsible and a liability waiting to happen. I understand the concept and science of the idea as proven, but show me where these particular units with these particular designs were tested in a clinical trial and a clinical dissertation written on them, not an opinion “news” article from an armchair scientist.

      • Why do you want FDA approval? Do you really think they’re gong to do what’s best for you? Not me. Time to start doing your own homework.

    • Thank you so much for posting this! You really led me to a fantastic product. I also was impressed by the great deal of published research decided to give it a try. I have now been using the Alpha Stim for three weeks and the results are impressive — my general feeling of well-being has improved significantly and I have been handling stressful situations much better. I am hopeful that with continued use I will be able to reduce and ultimately stop my sleep medication and antidepressants. Thanks again for sharing!

      • And BTW, I wish I had read the reviews of the ELF emmit (which ultimately led me to this page) before I ordered it. It is indeed very poorly constructed from cheap plastic; I cannot say whether or not it works because it broke within a week (in spite of my handling it extremely carefully).

  9. if this tool wasl REAL and REAL working: it would be like 500 600dollars, unlike little 120 130bux. there ARE tools that REALLY work, those Neuooptimal things/programs for computer,, but they are like 5000us dollars. so this TOY really is fake I guess. fuck it..

      • There are lots of folks who spend a lot of time researching and experimenting with this stuff that would disagree here. Some are MDs, others aren’t. This is where life gets complicated. Money talks and sometimes while the truth is known, we’re lied to. Like I said earlier, do your own homework, be your own advocate.

  10. yes, the tool seems a scam. But using the argument “a friend of mine that happens to be (an authority on the X field)” doesnt make your argument credible AT ALL… some credits or references please… at least

    • I myself have a background in biochemistry and health care and have studies bookmarked that I’m meaning to read if I can afford the paywalls.

      From the abstracts and sample sizes I’ve seen, the medical evidence looks sketchy as f.

  11. Here’s a nice scientific review ;), concluding:

    ‘…they got almost every aspect of the science details wrong.’

    ‘Taken together, this means that there is zero scientific basis for why the EE should function in the way it is advertised. The people who currently claim it works are probably falling for a ***placebo effect***. But thatโ€™s not necessarily a bad thing because the relaxing or concentrating effect of using the EE is still real. Itโ€™s just not because of the device itself but rather the hopes and beliefs you attach to using it.’


  12. According to MANY scientific papers eg: ( vol 119(2001) act a physica polonica a6-a) about something more known AND REALLY WORKING METHOD FOR YEARS ( binaural-beats ) ” there is a specific area of the brain called reticular system (witch decides about lucidity,concentration and consciousness) if external (sensory) or internal (feelings,demeanor’s or beliefs) stimuli ONLY IF : are not in conflict with this information “….SO there is NO WAY for any kind of result on our mood unless is aligned with our internal feelings,bealives etc ,or else ,our mind simply REJET IT…ELF is very known that has effects on living organisms… just have a look at the experiments and you-tube about HAARP ….BUT ..HAARP is 3,600.000.000 W !!! NOT 0,5W ..SO IN ANY WAY I DON’T THINK IS EFFECTIVE AT ALL AND MORE POSSIBLY… IS A SCAM !!!!

  13. I just bought one. I think it works pretty well. I used the meditation setting and could sense the changes. Has to be warn perfectly. I had to make a headband that wraps around my forehead to keep the unit snug against the back of my skull. And, yes I had to actually participate in the process. I focused my mind and consciously calmed my thoughts during use.

  14. I have been sending messages since December 2017 that my unit broke, and they have an automatic messaging that people makes mistakes and will get back to me. Until now, it is already March and they haven’t replied for my weekly messages. They are good in responding once you are a first time buyer.

  15. Last night, I managed to stay up and stay focused into the wee hours of the morning despite only having 2 hours of sleep the night before and getting up before dawn. I did this by using the Fast Learning setting repeatedly. But when I switched to the Reduce Stress setting, I immediately started to feel relaxed but tired. When I switched to Improve Sleep, I fell asleep.

  16. I’ve actually personally used binaural beats music to help with my insomnia. It was slightly relaxing but that’s probably because I picked an album with good ambient music:

    The ones with poor music didn’t do anything for me and were honestly kind of annoying to listen to.

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