muse brainwave headband

Muse Headband – To Quiet the Mind, Summon Muse

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The Future - Today

A Wearable for What?

When most people think of meditation, they usually think of things like a quiet room, dimmed lights, and a clear mind. Technology usually doesn’t even enter the picture. Don’t we meditate to clear our minds of stuff like that? However, the Muse brain-sensing headband is a smart device that actually helps you meditate by measuring your brain signals and encouraging you to clear your mind and relax.

Related: Preview – The Muse Headband

Muse calls itself “Your Personal Meditation Assistant”. Rather than motivating you to move, like so many other pieces of wearable tech, Muse motivates you to stop completely.

Go ahead and say it: The Muse Headband is weird

muse headbandIt looks like strange gear from a bad sci fi movie — the modern day version of a tin foil hat. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might think a gadget like the Muse is a mind control device (the company insists it’s not) or a sinister plot to harness your thoughts (also no).

However, if you’re a little more grounded in reality, if you can keep an open mind, and if you’re looking for some meditation guidance without paying a visit to your local guru, the Muse headband may be the right solution for you.

Personal Meditation Assistant

Muse works by measuring the electrical activity in your brain, otherwise known as electroencephalography, or EEG. This is the same technology used by hospitals and other medical facilities, and it’s completely safe. In fact, the Muse website boasts that the device is used at some of the world’s leading hospitals.

To use Muse, you put it on like a pair of headphones, only the band rests against your forehead instead of the top of your head. It has seven sensors to pick up on your brain activity. Pair the Muse with a smartphone or tablet running its Calm app, and you’ll be guided first through a calibration activity and then through a session that lasts between three and 20 minutes.

Calm your brain, and you’ll see and hear a relaxing beach scene; keep it really calm, and birds will appear and chirp. Lose focus, and the scene will turn stormy. The goal is to build up your brain’s ability to keep calm so that you’re more mindful when it matters. The better you do, the more points you earn and more features you unlock.

Relevant: The Importance of Being Unplugged: Why it’s Good to Occasionally Disconnect

Other Details to Ponder

man and woman mediating with muse headband

Muse works with both iOS and Android, and it connects via BlueTooth. The app and its relaxation program is currently the only software that works with it, but there is an open software development kit, so who knows? Eventually, Muse could be used to play games and control things with your mind, remedy sleep problems, and even help to alleviate ADHD symptoms.

Initially the result of a supremely popular Indiegogo campaign way back in 2012, the latest iteration of the Muse brain-sensing headband costs £238 in the UK. Its battery life is short at just five hours, and it takes over two hours to fully charge, so spontaneous meditation sessions may not be possible. Still, if you keep it charged, you can have a calming moment any time.

The Experts Weigh In

The response to Muse has been a mix of healthy curiosity and surprised appreciation. Here’s what a few tech reviewers have to say about it.

1. Mashable Muse Headband review

Forget Wearables — Here’s the First Real ‘Thinkable’

muse Techcrunch, man mediatation with muse

via Mashable

It’s not a wearable, writes reviewer Chris Taylor. The Muse is a thinkable — and a good one, at that. He applauds its ability to help us differentiate between chilling out and genuinely relaxing, pointing out how simple the device is to use, even for multiple users.

Getting the Muse set up and aligning the sensors is a bit tricky, but all in all, he concludes, it’s a good device for meditation.

2. Tech Crunch Muse Headband review

The $300 Headband That Gamifies Your Moment Of Zen

muse Techcrunch, man mediatation with muse

via Techcrunch

Reviewer Sarah Buhr seems dubious but willing to check out the Muse; this attitude comes across somewhat in her writing but more in the accompanying video, which features Muse co-founder and CEO Ariel Garten. She seems to get the hang of it, and concedes that it’s actually a useful device for meditating and de-stressing. Buhr isn’t going to fork over the $299 USD for one, but she sees how Muse would be appealing to a wide audience.

3. PC Mag Muse Headband review

InteraXon Muse

muse gadget front view

via PCMag

Muse is “a fascinating new piece of technology for health and wellness,” reviewer Jill Duffy states in this video review. It’s curious but cool, and she is impressed at her improvement over several days of use. It’s expensive, she writes, especially given that there aren’t many applications for Muse beyond the Calm app. Still, it works, and it may be worth buying if you could use some help in relaxing your thoughts. Four out of five stars is the verdict here.

Weird, But We Like It

It seems like most people go through the same stages of reaction when they first hear about the Muse brain-sensing headband. They go from confusion to scepticism to willing to accepting. You can’t blame them, really: it’s a little weird to put on a device that measures your brainwaves!

Still, Muse works. Sure, it’s just for meditation right now, but who among us couldn’t benefit from less stress and a calmer mind? And the future possibilities are exciting; it will be interesting to see what other Muse uses developers come up with.

We’re surrounded by fitness wearables and technology that encourages us to do more, so it’s refreshing to know that Muse is here, telling us to slow down and do less.

The Breakdown


Features
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Design
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Price
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