Pouring a beer is a typical happy hour activity. Yet pouring a beer from across a room with your mind? Sounds like magic.
Actually, it's not. Start-up Interaxon demonstrated this with its "Muse" headband, an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset that trains a user's mind to focus, relax, and perform some tasks.
The Muse is one of several wearables working at an obscure, but leading-edge, part of the industry: A device that interact directly with your mind.
The possibilities extend beyond just personal well being. Muse, for example, generates energy from a user's brainwaves, which are then used to manipulate objects like levitating chairs and controlling lights. Others alter a user's mood, or scan a person's vital signs.
Here's how the Muse works. With eyes closed, users perform brainstorming tasks to calibrate the headband. This then allows them to proceed through exercises that will reduce stress, increase focus, or perform certain tasks…like pouring a beer tap from across a room. The headset has a companion app "Calm" that is synced to the device via Bluetooth.
Although it isn't a medical device, the headset has the potential to be applied to diseases like depression and epilepsy.
While these sci-fi like abilities are only experiments for now, the Muse head band is already on the market. Muse is backed by the likes of Ashton Kutcher, OMERS Ventures and others. The set retails for $299 and is available for purchase on Amazon.
While Interaxon is largely about focusing distracted minds, Thync is about altering users' moods. By placing the triangular device to their temples and necks, wearers can set a companion app to calm or boost their energy through a set of tiny electrical pulses.
At the moment, the app fluctuates between two emotional states: calm and energy. Yet with a plethora of human emotions to choose from, the future mood extensions are limitless. Thync retails for $299.
Emotiv's neuroheadsets combine the best of both worlds, measuring users' emotions and using their mind as a catalyst for controlling physical objects. The company has two models: The EPOC and the Insight. The EPOC model is priced starting at $399, while Insight pricing starts at $299.
Emotiv EPOC focuses on facial expressions, performance and emotional metrics, as well as voice commands. Meanwhile, the Insight is a slightly pared down headset that lets users record and translate their brainwaves into data. The Insight is geared towards health and more amenable to everyday use.
The Emotiv EPOC has been used to control drones, actions in video games, and even to control wheelchairs through EEG sensors embedded in the device.