Muse is a brain signal measuring headband that aims to help improve your attention with focused attention training. The company describes it as the "mental equivalent of a treadmill" and the idea is that you essentially exercise your brain to become more aware of your distractions and react faster to enable you to regain focus quicker.
The headband has been available in Canada for a while but it has recently launched in the UK and we got our hands on it at the Wearable Technology Show in London to see what we made of it and what this niche product offers.
The Muse headband has three reference sensors and two forehead sensors that sit on the the main part, which goes across your forehead and is adjustable. There are also two conductive rubber ear sensors, which unsurprisingly sit in the parts that go behind your ears.
It's a comfortable headset to wear and it's easily charged too, with a Micro-USB port on either side. The Muse headset doesn't look like a brain monitoring device and we liked that about it. The design was simple and sophisticated and it had a premium appeal to it. We probably wouldn't wear it in the streets, but it isn't designed for this type of wear either so it's a good looking headset for what it is made for.
The power and pairing button sits on the right-hand side when the headset is on and LED lights indicate when a Bluetooth connection is being established. The headset then uses the connection to send information to the Calm app on your smartphone. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices and it will give you a tutorial on how to get the best fit for the best EEG signal readings from the headset.
The Calm app also guides you through focused attention training exercises and delivers real-time feedback while you train. Before each session, which can be as little as three-minutes a day, the Muse headband will take a snapshot of your brain in an active state so it can then use this to understand your brain signals. It does this for 60-seconds while you perform a brainstorming task.
Muse measures Alpha, Theta, Delta, Beta and Gamma brain waves. The former three are associated with sleep, deep relaxation and when a person is calm, while Beta and Gamma are said to occur when you are actively thinking or involved in higher mental activity. To train your brain, Muse translates the brain signals into sounds of wind. Calm winds are what you hear when your mind is calm, while strong winds are heard when your mind is active.
The headset works by training you to learn to keep the winds calm, thereby training your brain to resist distractions and stay focussed. When you finish a session, the app will display a series of graphs and charts and you'll be able to track your progress and earn points to unlock new features.
In theory, it all sounds very promising but whether it works in the real world is a different story. We didn't get a chance to test it out in full due to connection issues but we liked the look of Muse and its goals. The company claims training with Muse will improve how you respond to stress, give you a feeling of self-control and improve your emotional state, which all sound like things we'd love to put to the test so we are excited to get this headset in for full review.
Muse is available to buy now on Amazon for £239.