Usually in Opportunity Notes I try to identify the opportunity that a new product or technology stands for. Today I’ve got a new technology, but I’m not sure what the opportunity is. It’s worth exploring, though.
The company is Interaxon and the product is Muse. It’s a brainwave-reading headband that CEO Ariel Garten demonstrated for the first time publicly at Le Web in Paris this week. In her demo, conference chair Loic Le Meur, wearing the headband that fits like a pair of glasses but over the forehead, typed an email to his wife, and as he did so, the font that showed up on-screen varied with his emotional state: Flowery script when he was writing loving words, a more aggressive bold san serif when he talked about how how her work “rocked.”
The Muse headband reads EEGs. With current technology, it’s enough to determine rough mental activity level and to some extent mood, but the four-sensor headband is nowhere close to reading thoughts or even intention. While you could, arguably, train your brain to move to a certain state to control an activity, the technology isn’t meant to replace a keyboard, mouse, or even a button (there is at least one toy based on EEG control, though).
So the question is, what can you do with a headband that measures mental activity, or focus, or mood? Garten discussed professional applications, such as athletics. The headband could be used to reinforce players getting into “the zone.” I suppose one could also use it for creative professions. Maybe an IDE could lock out a programmer if it detected he was not focusing and was likely to write bad code.
Maybe, as Garten says, the applications are games. Again, not for control, but for mood. Perhaps your avatar in a online world could vary depending on your state of mind. Or non-player characters would be aggressive or compliant, depending.
The Muse could be used to generate yet another stream of data to correlate with other personal instrumentation products that read physical activity level, heart rate, location, sleep state, and so on. If we’re going to end up covered in sensors like an astronaut, might as well record brain activity too, right?
Or perhaps if I were wearing it right now it could help me focus so I could figure out what other cool things could be done with it. Assuming people can be convinced to wear it, there must be some creative applications.
The $199 Muse comes with an SDK for developers interested in exploring the EEG data stream.
A message from Evernote
Build knowledge. Share ideas. Get things done. Evernote Business.Back to Top