Muse: meditation made easy

Surrounded by other neurotech enthusiasts and experts, I tried the Muse headband at a local NeuroTechX event in Montreal. Our questions ranged from practical to highly technical.

First Impressions

  • Looks sleek. Black matte silicone and shiny black plastic.
  • Feels lightweight, bordering on flimsy – handle with care.
  • Comfortable soft silicone, adjustable headband size
  • Looks simple to use
  • Does not look dangerous or invasive
  • LOVE the bio-feedback soundtrack of the ocean waves

Function

A little tricky to achieve good skin-contact between the headband and forehead. Fascinating to see my own brainwaves on a tablet in real-time. Fun to watch the waves fluctuate with eyes closed (Alpha wave uptick) and slower breathing.

The real differentiator is the bio-feedback that interacts with the soundtrack. This is the same concept as their newer wearable, the Smith Low Down Focus eyewear. The sound of the ocean waves decreases in intensity as you relax, in sync with your brainwaves. The softening sounds relax you further and the cycle continues., enhancing your practice. When you reach your relaxation goal, you hear a bird singing. This is intuitive and does not interrupt the way a  human voice or even a gentle gong sound would.

My Take

I can see how this would be an excellent way to get people who have never tried meditation to try it. Particularly Type-A cardio patients who have a penchant for control. The soundtrack and bio-feedback takes all the guesswork out of it and makes it fun. Plus it’s just trippy to watch your brainwaves on a tablet.

However, once you learn to recognize your body’s response and know instinctively when you have reached the desired state of relaxation/focus,, I could see how the wearable could become superfluous. Then again, so many people stop and start meditation that it would be very handy when resuming a practice, e.g. when that New Year’s resolution kicks in.

Would make an excellent gift for a stressed-out person.

My brainwaves on a tablet.

Info

What: brain-wave sensing headband-style wearable for learning to relax and focus via meditation

Why: stress reduction, improved focus, anxiety reduction

How: Wireless EEG (electroencephalography) headband, with Bluetooth to sync data with mobile app and cloud. Data collection, analysis and logging for pattern recognition. BYO headphones.

From the Muse website: “Although the techniques of meditation are conceptually simple, many people find it hard to get started and can find it difficult to stay en­gaged to develop a lasting habit. With Muse, your mental state is monitored, enabling ongoing audio feedback during meditation to support and guide you toward an effective practice. This process accelerates comprehension and establishes the feeling that you are “doing it right,” which is essential for developing confidence and sustaining motivation.”

Whohttp://www.choosemuse.com/

Where: Toronto, Canada.

When: Available now. $249.00

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