Muse headband measures and analyses brain activity. Pedometers and heart rate monitors were yesterday. The electroencephalographer helps with meditation, but the Muse headband has pitfalls.
So far, Quantified Self stops where the head begins. Pulse, number of steps, mileage and altitude, calories burned – all these are measured and calculated more or less precisely with wristbands, watches and smartphone apps. Now it’s the turn to measure the brain, thanks to Muse.
InteraXon, a Toronto-based technology firm, has posted a funding campaign on Indiegogo, a crowdsource funding site similar to Kickstarter, for a device, it calls Muse. Muse is a headband device based on electroencephalography (EEG) sensor technology combined with a sophisticated smartphone app that monitors the wearer’s brainwaves.
Muse - do more with your mind
So make more of his mind. At least, that’s what InteraXon promises. Muse should help people to concentrate better. Those who manage to do this can allegedly learn better, achieve more, have better ideas and sharpened senses, and are more determined, successful, and less stressed. It sounds like Scientology, but everything is written on the packaging.
First of all, it is a wearable brain-sensing headband. Hence, pedometers and heart rate monitors were yesterday. Muse measures and analyses brain activity. Altogether, the brain-sensing band is supposed to help with meditation.
Heart rate, number of steps, kilometres travelled and altitude metres, calories consumed – all these measured and calculated more or less precisely by people today with wristbands, watches and smartphone apps. Now it’s the turn to measure the brain, thanks to InteraXon Muse.
How does Meditation work?
First, Muse may be more comfortable to wear than a classic EEG bathing cap with sensors and cables, as you might know, from hospitals. A plastic strip with clearly visible sensors lies across the forehead, and behind the ears are more sensors and the rest of the electronics in a cheap-looking plastic housing. But it’s not as convenient as the makers promise. Because the seven sensor fields must have good contact with the forehead, the area behind the ears, i.e. must fit very closely. It might take several attempts, especially the first time, until a sufficiently clear signal arrives at the Muse. The app shows whether a sensor receives a signal or not.
The device must then calibrate before each exercise. The app asks you to think about as many books, desserts, and fictitious characters as possible for a few seconds. In this way, Muse recognises how the brain “looks” when it is active.
Then the actual breathing exercise begins. This corresponds to simple meditation and lasts three, seven or twelve minutes. Each exhalation gets counted (always to ten and then from the front) while thinking of nothing else.
The sound of the sea splashing and the sound of the wind can be heard – preferably through headphones. If my thoughts wander off, Muse registers this and warns: “The wind is getting louder and more threatening. He hears seagulls landing nearby if I remain concentrated and calm over an extended period. In the end, there are points. The more focused I am, the more points I get.
Furthermore, InteraXon Muse is an electroencephalograph, a device recording one’s brain waves. It looks like a mixture of headphones and a headband, costs 300 US dollars and shows how professional medical technology for diagnostic purposes, such as sleep medicine, is becoming a gadget thanks to increasingly cheaper sensors.
Without a doubt, InteraXon’s headband may be more comfortable to wear than a classic EEG (electroencephalography) bathing cap with sensors and cables, as you might know, from hospitals. A plastic strip with clearly visible sensors lies across the forehead and behind the ears; other sensors and the other electronics are in a cheap-looking plastic housing. Don’t get it wrong – it is as it should be.
Finally, InteraXon Muse helps you meditate quickly, in a gamification model and efficiently, and develop a positive meditation practice every day with only a few minutes. The Muse is the world’s first tool that gives you constant real-time feedback on your brain activity while meditating, offering exciting challenges and rewards to take advantage of your successes over time.
- Excellent for meditation, battery lifetime, simplicity, good app, relaxing, gamification of meditation, addictive, light
- You must wear the headband very tight; otherwise, you lose the connection.
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