The folks at the Dakim BrainFitness System were kind enough to send a unit to me to use for a few days so that I could review their program. In the weeks since I sent it back to them, I’ve had some time to think about the program and I’m happy to say that it’s an excellent alternative to other computer-based brain fitness training programs.
Unlike most other programs, the Dakim System isn’t a software package that you have to install on your own computer. It arrives in a box, complete with a computer that’s already set up with the program. All you have to do is open up the box and plug in the computer.
And the computer that comes with the system is the most user-friendly machine I’ve ever seen. The initial set up is explained to you by the computer over speakers that are built in to the unit. And you don’t have to use a keyboard or a mouse to use the system. You just touch the screen to answer questions as the computer is set up. That’s also how you interact with the computer when you start the training program.
The training program includes a nice variety of tasks that tap attention, memory, and problem solving. The tasks use materials that are likely to be familiar to users over 50, such as movie clips from old films, and change quickly enough to keep you from getting bored. The unit can be connected to the Internet to get updated materials, so you will be able to use the System for a long time to come. The new material requires that you pay a monthly subscription, though, so that’s an extra cost of the system.
The program has multiple levels of difficulty, so you will be able to make steady progress as you work with it. The program is just right for many users over 50, but doesn’t include tasks that focus on working memory (remembering more than one thing at a time and then thinking about them) and it’s not clear to me how well it will help you develop processing speed (how fast you can take things in and make decisions about them). Other programs include these tasks, but in our experience they may be too difficult for many users. The Dakim System is likely to be accessible to almost every user.
Overall, then, the Dakim BrainFitness System is probably best suited for people who don’t already have a computer and don’t already know how to use a mouse and keyboard. The touch screen format makes the unit very easy to set up and use. The program content will give users a regular mental work out that will help them keep their brains working. I give the Dakim BrainFitness System an A+ for usability. The program content will help users keep the minds active, and will help you track your progress.
Update at 2:15 PM:The folks at Dakim point out to me that several of the subtests do, in fact, help train working memory. I stand corrected. They also let me know that they’re working on a speed of processing task for inclusion in a future update.