Hands-free has been redefined with “Muse.” Can this help you multi-talk better? Check out the fancy headband in action below.
Google Glasses? Passe. Voice-controlled intelligent agents? So over. Controlling the tempo of “Call Me Maybe” with your heartbeat? Please. The future of wearable computing is all about using your noggin.
That’s what the Muse headband promises to do. Currently seeking funding on Indiegogo (see the smartly produced and highly convincing video above), the Muse is a lightweight plastic controller that slips onto your forehead and connects to your smartphone or tablet.
Not only can the Muse give you feedback on how you’re doing mentally — calm, agitated, focused, distracted — it can also be used to control any app you care to name. You could, in theory, shop this way. (Paying attention, marketers?)
We’ve seen brainwave monitoring devices before. The technology EEG, or Electroencephalography, looks for electrical activity just under your scalp; it’s been around in the medical world since the 1920s. We started to figure out how to connect it to computers in the late 1990s.
A number of companies in the 2000s promised to produce the interface that would take off with the public at large. I test-drove one, the Emotiv Epoc, back in 2009, and used it to control video games. But it was a clunky thing with many nodes, hardly portable.
We’ve seen a more successful application of EEG technology in the Zeo, a headband you wear while sleeping that communicates your sleep state to a bedside controller (and more recently to a smartphone). But the Muse is the first multipurpose headband we can imagine folks wearing out of the house. It is designed to work with iPhones, iPads and Android apps, as well as Mac and Linux computers.
Made by Canadian startup InteraXon, the Muse is expected to launch in 2013 and retail for around $200. With 19 days to go in its fundraising efforts, the company has $125,000 of its $150,000 target.