Project - Brain Workshop

If you're looking to improve your mental faculties, especially in the area of memory, check out this project. According to the Web site:

Brain Workshop is a free open-source version of the dual n-back brain training exercise.

...A recent study published in PNAS, an important scientific journal, shows that a particular memory task called dual n-back may actually improve working memory (short-term memory) and fluid intelligence.

...Brain Workshop implements this task. The dual n-back task involves remembering a sequence of spoken letters and a sequence of positions of a square at the same time, and identifying when a letter or position matches the one that appeared in trials earlier.

Anatomy students will be chuffed with this brain diagram in the menu background.

The main playing mode involves remembering letters and positions, two turns back.

Some of the advanced playing modes of Brain Workshop include multiple audio streams, images, arithmetic and more.


Although running Brain Workshop isn't particularly difficult, installing another external program, AVBin 7, is recommended.

Head to the project Web site, click the Download link, and click the link, “Source Distribution for Linux”. This page contains instructions for both Mac OS X and Linux. Scroll down the page for the Linux instructions. The only other real requirement mentioned here is Python 2.5, although most modern distros likely have this pre-installed.

As I mentioned above, the instructions say that you should install AVBin 7. Although this is optional, it will give you musical cues that are rather satisfying, so I recommend doing so. Luckily for me, the Webmaster has been good enough to provide detailed instructions for AVBin's installation, as well as links to both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Once the prerequisites are out of the way, grab the latest tarball and extract it. From here, the Webmaster again has done the work, so I'm quoting the next step verbatim: “Open a terminal, enter the brainworkshop directory and type python brainworkshop.pyw to launch Brain Workshop. You also may enable execute permissions on brainworkshop.pyw, if you'd like to launch it, by double-clicking.”


Upon entering the program, you'll be greeted with a menu and a fabulous background diagram of an anatomical brain. I could explore a number of options at this point, but for now, let's jump right into the game.


John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.


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great app

Anonymous's picture

I have used Brain Workshop off and on for the last 2 years. While I don't know if it has improved my intelligence, it certainly has improved my ability to focus. My overall memory is much better and I am also able to think through complex issues more clearly than before.

Regarding the previous comment that "it sounds like torture": it is challenging, but that's the whole point! Read the n-back study by Jaggi (sp?) et al, very interesting.

Note: I have no affiliation with Brain Workshop whatsoever.

This sounds a bit like mental

Anonymous's picture

This sounds a bit like mental torture to me :P