Forget calorie monitoring and tracking steps taken. Disregard distance and heart rate readings, they’re not important compared to the ones that your brain puts out. Fortunately there’s a wearable gadget for that too called the Melon headband and it keeps track of your cognitive performance.
The idea behind the Melon, is to make the invisible activity of your brain visible, giving you a real indicator of how much you’re thinking and what sort of stimuli trigger different levels of concentration. It does this by using small sensors in the headband that pick up the micro-volt signals that come out of your brain, sending them to the main control board which then broadcasts that information via Bluetooth 4.0 to your smartphone for analysis.
When there, the Melon app offers you the chance to see your brain activity in real time as you focus more on a task or as you slip up.
As well as being a quick indicator of how things are going though, the Melon can also help you with a variety of different tasks. For example, if you happen to be losing focus while working, getting distracted, tired or just simply finding things a bit boring, the Melon app will give you a heads up and a tip on how to refocus yourself, perhaps suggesting that you get a drink or have a quick stretch to reboot your brain for the task at hand.
There’s also a couple of helpful tools within the app that can get you focused before an event or important date. Several quick exercises can bring your brain activity to its peak levels and give you the chance to focus on what’s important. Likewise you can also train your brain as time goes on, using simple games based on the science of Neurofeedback. An origami game for example, has you folding animals out of paper using the power of your concentration.
Currently the Melon is still in the pre-order stage, so you can reserve one today for $150.
One problem I foresee with the Melon that could crop up when review samples hit the web, is that it’s simply measuring brain activity, rather than any specific aspect of thinking. For example, say I’m working but get really excited by something else unrelated, will the app know that I’m not thinking about work, or will it reward me for my focus?
I think cost will come in to play too until we see what the Melon can do in the wild. It’s expected for release this Summer, so any time now.
I think the Melon is an interesting idea and I’d like to give it a go first hand, but like many wearables it seems clear that it’s a first-gen product. Something like this would probably be more versatile a couple of iterations down the road.