To be a better athlete, you condition your body to improve your strength, agility and endurance. To be a better musician, you practice eight hours a day to perfect your skill and musicality.
With that being said, it makes sense that if you want to improve your focus, you would take time out of the day to train your mind as well.
That's exactly what Muse does. This headband, which retails for $299 and will soon be available at Best Buy beginning on July 12, uses electroencephalography sensors to measure the activity of your neurons to detect when your mind is focused and when it isn't.
The lightweight black headband sits behind your ears with a thin plastic band with the sensors stretching across your forehead. As Muse connects to its app via Bluetooth, you know it's calibrated when five solid-colored shapes appear in a circle.
You then put your headphones on and the app begins to measure your brain activity by coaching you through exercises to help you focus. When I demoed the device during CE Week in New York on Wednesday, the app instructed me to think about musical instruments, actors and artists to help me focus. After that, I was told to concentrate on and count my breaths as sounds of nature played through the headphones. Whenever I heard wind, that signified that my mind was starting to drift away from focus.
When my session, which lasted a few minutes, was over, the app showed me a line graph that detailed my brain activity when it was active, when it was neutral and when it was calm. I was only calm for 17 percent of the session, which obviously isn't a desirable amount, but hopefully I would have been calmer if I wasn't in a busy trade show environment. I also earned one bird, a gamification element of the wearable that users receive when they remain calm for seven seconds.
Overall, the experience reminded me a lot of those sound machines that some people use to lull themselves to sleep at night. I can't say that the brief session I experienced allowed me to achieve more peace of mind, but after some regular uses, it's entirely possible. Still, knowing that there are wearable devices out there that are starting to emphasize the importance of mental health as well as physical health does make me feel more at ease.
Check out a video of the Muse in action.
CE Week 2015's consumer electronics and technology exhibits run through Thursday in New York City. More than 175 participating companies showcase what's new, along with a program of over 35 conference sessions, keynotes and workshops, at the Metropolitan Pavilion/Altman Building.