Would you use a ‘smart headband’ to focus at work? These testers did

TORONTO – Of all the offbeat tech on display last week at Google Canada’s one-day startup conference, Go North, we feel comfortable stating that none were as relaxing as Toronto-based Interaxon’s Muse headband.

After making headlines for its successful crowdfunding campaign in 2012 and releasing the Muse itself last year, Interaxon marked its appearance at Go North with a meditation area that included bean bags, glowing lights, and two of its signature brainwave-sensing headbands, which were connected to iPhones playing rainforest noises.

“The idea is for the headband to passively measure your brain activity and give you feedback to let you know when your mind is focused versus when it’s wandering,” Interaxon representative Andrew Persaud told ITBusiness.ca at the Oct. 28 event. “We think people can use it to teach themselves how to reach a focused state.”

While the headbands are designed for meditation, Persaud said that many office workers enjoy using them because they hone a user’s ability to concentrate on a single task – a scenario we encouraged two Go North attendees to imagine when enlisting them to test the headbands.

When putting on the Muse, the more scattered your mind is, the more feedback you’ll hear: The rainforest soundscape, for example, plays a light, gentle rainfall that becomes louder and more intense when users fail to maintain their focus.

Though user Anthony Saad chose the rainforest to accompany his test, Interaxon actually gives Muse users multiple soundscapes to choose from, including the beach, desert, new age music, and Central Park.

Saad, for his part, gave the headband and its accompanying soundtrack his enthusiastic approval.

“I think it was useful,” he said. “It was interesting to hear birds chirping, reminding me to focus on my brain.”

Would he use it at work?

“Absolutely,” Saad said. “I think office computers should have this built in.”

Yash Shah tests the Muse headband for ITBusiness.ca.
Yash Shah also tests the Muse headband for ITBusiness.ca.

Yash Shah, meanwhile, said he loved the device because it helped him calm down.

“I have ADHD, so it’s a very good device for me,” he said. “It lets me know when I’m feeling hyper and stressed and when I can be focused on one place.”

“I look forward to buying one [for work],” he added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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