Interaxon, the company best known for its “brain sensing” headband Muse that helps wearers meditate, released the second generation of the device this morning.
The latest product, called Muse 2, is worn across the user's forehead and connects to a smartphone app that providing meditation data. Like the previous version of the tool, it is able to measure brain signals through an EEG sensor, similar to how a heart rate monitor can sense a person’s heartbeat.
This latest upgrade means the technology can also track breathing patterns and heart rate during meditation, and then send those results to the user’s smartphone. One of the more nuanced features of the technology is a component that tracks the user's heart beat, and then turns that beat into a “soothing drumbeat” of various sounds to promote meditation. The idea is to help the user get in touch with their inner state, and similarly the company claims that it translates the user's brain activity into the “guiding sounds of weather.”
Why it matters
Meditation has been around for more than millennia but more recently the world of modern medicine is starting to take note. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can be used to help reduce stress and tension. In the past the practice has helped manage symptoms of anxiety, cancer, chronic pain, depression and high blood pressure, according to the clinic.
There are a myriad of ways that people can participate in mediation from breathing exercising to pray and walking. Some have even turned to the digital space and tools like Muse and or various apps.
What's the trend
Muse officially launched the brain sensing headband in 2014, two years after its initial kick starter raised $287,000. Beyond consumer meditation, Muse has been used in brain research at more than a hundred hospitals and universities for studies of pain, PTSD, fatigue and more — as well as mindfulness and meditation. In September the company announced the acquisition of Meditation Studio, a company known for its meditation app which provides guidance from 40 experts.
Headspace, another major player in the digital mediation field, announced in June that it was conducting a slew of randomized control trials on its own meditation app, with the goal of eventually getting FDA clearance for some of its apps. This platform also had a recent acquisition in September — voice-enabled AI system Alpine.AI, which Headspace picked up to further its personalization and conversational products.