This ECG Headband Monitors Brain Activity, Enables Mental App Control
The closest we can get to creating our brains stimulated or relaxed quickly and in a legal and non-damaging way could be this thing created by one woman – an electroencephalographic headband. It is a device that could be considered as something that knows your brain probably better than you do. It is called “Muse” and dubbed as the “brain-sensing headband.”
CNN’s Sally Hayden conducted an interview with Ariel Garten, the creator of the electroencephalographic headband. Garten is a Canadian who has a worked in the fields of fashion design and psychotherapy. This headband was already covered by CNN in December 2012. Back then, it was unveiled at LeWeb and was demonstrated by Garten herself. It was priced at $199 some two years ago but is now bearing a $300 price tag. Hayden did an interview with Garten to learn more about the ECG headband. The following are the highlights of the interview:
How does Muse work?
The ECG headband monitors brain activity through the scalp. The activity monitoring is reflected on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The accompanying software will then provide feedback and present exercises you can do to help calm and settle your mind.
For some people, technology is the source of stress, how does Muse work for them?
Garten agrees that technology can be a stressor for some people but for her, Muse is designed to work with the human body in ways that avoid the drawbacks of getting constantly exposed to technology. Garten reiterates the widely-accepted idea that technology is not evil. It’s the way it is implemented that can cause problems.
Can Muse help children with Attention Deficit Disorder? How?
Garten does not claim that Muse is a medical device. She says that it is a computer product but it can provide exercises that are helpful for people with ADHD by enhancing focus. She claims that they have received emails that attest to how Muse helped improve ADHD conditions.
Who are interested in getting and using Muse?
There have been inquiries on Muse from sports stars and celebrities, many of whom are interested in using the device as a cognitive tool. Also, Garten adds that quite a number of research labs are looking into the possibility of using the device to address cases of epilepsy and depression.
Are there privacy issues associated with Muse?
Garten claims that their company, InteraXon, respects personal data privacy. It is a policy for InteraXon to keep user data protected. Muse does not expose the thoughts of its users. It does not upload compiled data to secret servers.
What is the inspiration for Muse?
Garten has worked professionally in fields that involved design, psychotherapy, and neuroscience. That’s why she intends to help people in understanding their own minds and to use their minds in more productive ways. She is also particularly inspired by women because of the commonly held idea that women are so good in holding themselves back with their thoughts. She seeks to provide women something that can help them calm down or relax while keeping thoughts that tend to worry or create anxieties for them.
More on Muse
Muse was conceptualized around four years ago. It materialized through an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that reached more than twice the target fund of $150,000. It is a wearable device equipped with four sensors that enable the monitoring of brain activity, operating in a way similar to how heart rate monitors work. Aside from monitoring functions, it is also capable of controlling certain games and applications based on the brain signals detected similar to how neurogaming works. As Garten mentioned in a CNN interview two years ago, “it interacts with content directly with your mind so you can play games that you are able to control with your mind.”
The Muse ECG headband comes with a “brain fitness suite” app designed to track the brain and facilitate de-stressing activities through a connected smartphone, tablet, or computer. Garten believes that this headband can strengthen a user’s mind and improve cognitive and emotional functions of the brain. She adds that it is comparable to Sudoku and crossword puzzles in improving brain activity and function.
Whether or not Muse works as a brain-enhancing device is still up for assessment. There haven’t been actual studies that evaluated its effectiveness yet. Hopefully, neuroscience or psychotherapy groups or institutions could consider scientifically studying the device’s effects soon. It would be great to have it as a smartphone accessory if it actually works as touted.