02. Experts Corner

Going From Strength to Strength with Cognitive Training

December 14, 2023

Here I’d like to share our PAC Development Center story of using neurotechnologies to improve human performance. We believe there is great untapped potential when applied with an integrated mental training approach. We've discovered broad applications emerging out of our work with athletes.

The Founding of PAC Development Center

The founders of PAC Development Center (myself Eric Tobon, Nancy Poulin and Francois Cloutier)

Our methodology was born out of COVID, starting as a solution for athletes who could no longer get access to gyms and sports facilities. We knew this was particularly challenging for ice hockey players, so we chose this time to launch a company focused on supporting our Canadian national sport.

We founded the PAC Development Center as three entrepreneurs with a passion for sports technology and a love of improving human performance. Between us we have a great spectrum of complementary expertise in domains such as physical training, mental coaching, nutrition, performance preparation and even meditation. We’ve found these synergize really well with some amazing results for improving mind, body and soul.

Training Like a Pro

Ice hockey training with Sense Arena

Focused on innovative performance solutions we were the first company in Quebec to implement a cognitive training platform called Sense Arena, which we thought was ahead of its time and a nice way to build up skills of the mental side of the game.

That was three years ago. Now the technology is an official cognitive platform for the National Hockey League and as well as Hockey USA, which is great validation that we started out on the right track. It also became a motivational bonus for the young athletes we focused on, knowing they training like pro athletes at the highest levels.

At the same time, although it was great to establish this type training for hockey players, we wanted to expand our services for other sports, as well as the general population.

Discovering 3D Multiple Object Tracking

For this reason we did global research into other cognitive platforms anywhere there might be a potential fit. Throughout this search the neurotechnology that kept showing up and came across as the most trusted was NeuroTracker.

So we started digging into what the benefits are and who can use it, and for us it checked lots of boxes like scientific validation. So it was total ‘Yes let's do it!’

In Quebec we have a special kind of pride, so we love how NeuroTracker is an innovation born out of Montreal - the best cognitive platform in the world right on our doorstep!

Putting NeuroTracker to Use

We first implemented this neurotechnology with Atanukan student athletes in Manikanetish School. We had an ongoing sports contract and put NeuroTracker through it paces with ice hockey, volleyball, badminton, track and field, as well as for music. The adoption was a great success, with many athletes making their new cognitive training part of their daily routine.

It was received so well that the school wanted to extend the training program across the whole school to assist with academic performance, and also to get students motivated by giving them access to what the athletes were receiving.

Moving Beyond Sports

We realized athletes are motivated in different ways to teenage students, and in the digital age there is a kind of fast-food culture where what is cool today is forgotten tomorrow. We realized that keeping students motivated like athletes would require going the extra motivational mile.

Our solution to keep them engaged was to bring in a competitive element, so we put on school wide contests on a monthly basis. This wasn’t just about who could get the highest scores, but also for students who achieved the greatest improvements – which is the most important part.

We also wanted it to be inclusive and help commitment, so our idea was to take a lottery style approach. In this way students earned tickets with a chance to win based on how many sessions they complete – the more training completed, the better the chances.

Fortunately a Quebec mining company loved our work and kindly sponsored our competition. This allowed us to award attractive prizes like $125 gift certificates.

Lastly we used social media to highlight our top 5 students' successes each week to give them a morale boost.

From Success to Success

The program went from success to success, and the impact on the school was very positive. The students were happy and the teachers reported clear differences in student focus from the training effects. Their students were more calm in class, more focused, and the students themselves also felt a real benefit from what they were doing, alongside seeing their NeuroTracker performance go up and up.

Also it was noticed that there were benefits for the students specifically after completing NeuroTracker sessions, with more focus, less fatigue and better concentration.

The wonderful thing about these results is that it impressed the mining company, who saw all the positive feedback and are keen to keep sponsoring the program. This is allowing us to extend the program to three other schools in the community.

Upwards and Onwards

With a successful track record it becomes easier to now venture into new domains, and we have now caught the attention of our local government, who have been impressed with what we’re developing. This includes the evolution and launch of our new app to have our different training systems accessible and monitored in a single ecosystem, as well as being used as an educational platform.

Our goal going forward is to expand our services into industry and government, which is a pretty broad portfolio for cognitive training, but we believe there is a valuable untapped fit. For example we’re in talks with first responders, police officers, and firefighters, who all have to operate under high cognitive loads.

We’re proud that our PAC Development Center started off just a few years ago as a COVID support project, yet is rapidly blossoming and the future looks very positive!

If you’re interesting to learn more about our work then check out our website here.

PAC Development Center


Witness the benefits of NeuroTrackerX. Start Today!