Fitness bands have become a big trend over the past couple of years, right alongside calorie counting apps and sensors in your shoes; keeping track of what your body is doing, is one of, if not the, next big thing. However, as useful as it is for working out and staying in shape, tracking your body is only half the battle; what about tracking your mind? That’s what Interaxon’s Muse hardware is capable of doing and it has some surprising uses.
Fitted with six sensors that can track your brainwaves, the Muse is the starting block from which many different systems can be created. There’s huge potential for all sorts of controlled devices, or prosthetics thanks to its simplistic application through a thin, white headband that can be worn for hours at a time without a problem. However one of the big features that Interaxon is pushing right now, is its meditation aid through neurofeedback.
To help you meditate or calm your mind, it displays a blue sky with a number of clouds in it. As you calm yourself, or focus on something in particular, clearing your worry, the clouds gradually dissipate, giving you a visual cue that you’re doing well. There’s even built in audio commands to help you through the experience.
However it can do more than that, as VentureBeat explored, linking up exercise and food with brain tracking can show what an effect on your productivity that extra piece of cake can have, or if that coffee you slam down really helps, or if it just gets you wired.
While it’s not in place yet, a commercial version could quite easily be paired with gaming, which could lead to all sorts of new an innnovative titles. How about a reverse LA Noire, where you’re lying to the cops and have to remain calm?
As it stands, the retail version of the Muse, when it’s released later this year, is going to cost $300, or likely around £300 when it’s made available in the UK.
The price tag aside, the difficulty with a device like this will be its adoption. It needs to be less obvious – even if the white band would probably be seen as stylish in some circles – and it needs to be quantified in a way that non-meditating public can understand and want. As it stands, it seems hard to imagine thouosands of people rushing out to buy something that helps you calm down.
While I’d love to give this a go and could see it as being quite a useful tool for relaxation, it’s hard to imagine it being a popular product, at least for some time to come. It’ll need some heavy marketing to make it a real hit.