Two European designers, Dries Verbruggen and Lucas Maassen, became enthralled recently with the idea of neuro-feedback in which a patient—say, someone with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—observes his or her own brain waves on a video screen and tries to alter their oscillations through mental effort.

Electrodes attached to the head transmit patterns of neural activity that can be nominally altered to produce focused attention, a calm outlook or some other state of mind. Whether neuro-feedback is an effective treatment, however, is still an open question.

But, even if it is just a slightly more dynamic form of phrenology, the oscillating signals inside your head hold an undeniable attraction to some people. For Verbruggen and Maassen the ups and downs of the alpha waves provided inspiration for their design work, which ultimately resulted in a piece of furniture, the Brain Wave Couch.

Slide Show: Brain Wave Couch: Sit on That Thought