InteraXon, a Toronto-based technology firm, has posted a funding campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd source funding site similar to Kickstarter, for a device it calls Muse. Muse is a headband device based on electroencephalography (EEG) sensor technology combined with a sophisticated smartphone app that allows the wearer's brainwaves to be monitored.
Muse looks like a bent hair band: It's worn across the top of the forehead and over the ears and has sensors in both locations that monitor alpha (resting state) and beta (active state) brainwaves. The brainwaves are converted to a signal that is broadcast, via Bluetooth technology, to the user's smartphone. This signal is then displayed on the screen via InteraXon's custom app, the Integrated Brain Health system. The idea is that if people can see what their brains are doing, they can use this information to achieve goals such as improving memory or sharpening concentration skills. Future plans for Muse include use as a computer application-control device.
The company claims that Muse can be used to learn new ways to relax, recognize lapses in concentration, build self-confidence, and gain more control of one's thoughts, overall. Doing so, say developers, actually strengthens the brain. To help users meet such goals, the app includes a series of lessons and exercises designed to teach the user how to manipulate brain waves using visual feedback. Developers suggest using Muse will result in a "healthy" brain.
The team behind Muse, led by founder and CTO Chris Aimone, say Muse is the culmination of nearly a decade of work dedicated to bringing EEG-based technology to the masses. They add that their initial objective was to create a device that would allow people to overcome negative thinking, which, the developers assert, inhibits personal growth. The problem, they say, is that people currently don't receive timely feedback to allow them to know when they begin thinking negatively. According to the InteraXon team, Muse can prevent much negative thinking by providing real-time information about what is going on inside people's brains, thereby giving people the opportunity to alter their thinking in the moment.
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