Today is an important milestone both in the history of the consumer BCI market and in wearable computing as well. InteraXon officially unveiled Muse, a sleek and stylish brain-computer interface (BCI) headband with 4 EEG sensors. The lightweight device allows users to control applications – ranging from gaming to educational apps and music – using the power of their brains. The company has also launched an Indiegogo campaign aiming to raise $150.000 for manufacturing Muse.
Since 2007 the Canadian InteraXon have been a leader in brain-computer interface technology. They are best known for a breath-taking brain-controlled installation they created for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which allowed people in Vancouver to control the lights on Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, and the Canadian Parliament buildings, using only their brainwaves.
Only a month ago, at the TechCrunch Disrupt, InteraXon gave a first preview of the headset and today they finally unveiled the details including the name Muse, which comes from the ancient Greek goddesses of Art and Science who inspired genius and creativity in mortals.
Centering around the growing movement in wearable computing devices, Muse is a wearable headband aiming to teach people how to do mental exercises.
In order to read your brainwaves Muse has four built in EEG sensors, two on the forehead and two behind the ears. The headband communicates with your smartphone or tablet wirelessly via Bluetooth. Judging by the pictures it looks pretty comfortable, and according to the video below, it slips on like a pair of glasses. The overall design shows a well-thought-out wearable device that is barely noticeable and has the potential to introduce the general public to BCI technology.
The company has not only developed Muse but also a dedicated software application that works along the headband. It is a brain trainer app that helps people develop a healthier, more productive mind. According to InteraXon (and many other researchers) building healthy brain habits are just as important as healthy eating and exercise habits.
“When your mind is concentrated and focused on a single thing we can detect that, and when your mind wonders we can detect that too. What we’ll do is give you a feedback that will help you notice that your mind is wondering, so you can develop the skill to bring it back.” says Trevor Coleman, Founder and COO of InteraXon.
Muse, a window into your mind
According to InteraXon, Muse is the realization of many years of effort, insight and innovation. The company believes (and so do we) that the potential use of BCI is endless. Today you can use it to improve your mind but within 10 years this technology will be used to play games and operate toys, keep you alert on long drives with fatigue monitoring, control lights and temperatures and other stuff at home.
“It may sound science fiction now but it will become reality.”, says Ariel Garten, co-founder and CEO of InteraXon.
“Over the past few years, our team has been working tirelessly gathering user data in the product development and design phases. Today we’re extremely excited to debut Muse and help put brainwave-enabled technology in the hands of thousands of people”, said Ariel Garten. “From the very beginning, our goal has been to make this technology accessible and affordable for consumers looking to try it for the first time. We appreciate everyone contributing to our campaign and helping make that a reality.”
Watch the video below to see the headband in action. It also enlists famous tech people complimenting on Muse, from the maker of the Sphero robotic ball, to the interface designer of the Minority Report movie, and to Steve Mann, the father of wearable computing.
Thought-controlled beer tap for the most generous backers!
To fund the manufacturing of the headband, InteraXon are betting on the crowd-founding website Indiegogo, aiming to raise $150.000 for Muse in no more than 50 days. The odds for success are quite good, at the time of writing this article almost $30.000 has been raised already, and we are in the early days of the campaign.
Early supporters, more precisely the first 200 people who back the project, will be able to take advantage of a special pricing offer. Serious backers also get early access to InteraXon’s SDK. Of course the good old t-shirts are present in the perk list too but if you can afford at least $8,500 it will be probably your most fun spending of all time: in return, believe it or not, the InteraXon team will show up at your door (US or Canada) with a thought-controlled beer tap!
Key features of Muse:
- Flexible, lightweight brain-computer interface headband
- 4 EEG sensors (2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears)
- Bluetooth enabled
- Compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC and Linux
- Free development SDK for all available platforms
- Rechargeable battery that lasts for 10 hours of continuous use
- Contributors can buy it for $150
To pre-order Muse and support the project, please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/interaxonmuse. The campaign runs until December 7th 2012, delivery of devices is currently set for Spring 2013. To learn more about the device, read the official Muse FAQ