Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband
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- Muse is your personal meditation assistant
- Sometimes your mind is calm and sometimes it's active. Muse will guide you to a calm mind
- Put on the Muse headband, put on your earbuds, start the app, and close your eyes. Immerse yourself within the sounds of a beach or rainforest.
- While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into weathers sounds.
- When you're calm, you'll hear peaceful weather sounds. When your mind wanders, the weather will intensify, guiding you back to a calm state.
- After each session, review your data, set goals, and build a deeply rewarding meditation practice that gets better every time.
- Kindly refer to the User Manual, FAQs, and Tech Specs for more information.
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From the manufacturer
Why meditate with Muse?
Muse is the first tool in the world that gives you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain when you meditate. Improve your meditation practice in as little as 3 minutes a day – any time, anywhere.
Personalized tracking, motivational challenges and rewards encourage you to build a more regular and effective practice.
Experience all the benefits of meditation – such as relaxation, improved mood and reduced stress – with none of the uncertainty.
The science behind Muse
Your brain is constantly generating electrical signals when you’re thinking, sleeping or even relaxing. These signals can be detected from outside your head, via sensors.
Muse uses the same brain sensing technology that doctors and scientists have employed for more than a century to detect your brain signals, similar to how a heart monitor measures your pulse.
Muse has 7 finely calibrated sensors – 2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears plus 3 reference sensors – which detect and measure the activity of your brain.
Muse is your personal meditation assistant. While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into weather sounds. When you’re calm, you’ll hear peaceful weather sounds. When your mind wanders, the weather will intensify, guiding you back to a calm state. After each session, review your data, set goals, and build a deeply rewarding meditation practice that gets better every time.
Color: Black Headband ONLY (No Case)
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Top customer reviews
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The headset has a difficult task in reading brainwaves but it does it quite well for the price. Patience is required to ensure a proper connection with all the sensors. Many people will not have that patience. Ironically, those without patience are the ones who could benefit from Muse the most. With that said, proper use should be within the capability of most people. Although the built in batteries last a reasonable amount of time between recharges, I find that accuracy suffers as they lose their charge. This is no surprise, but the charge indicator function seems to give a slightly optimistic appraisal. Plan on recharging at 50% or earlier if you want accurate feedback. For anyone thinking this is too much money for a neurofeedback device, keep in mind that professional devices are well over $1000. Bluetooth connection is simple to setup and seems to work fine. The worst issue with the hardware is that you may have to put a fair amount of time into each session to ensure you get good contact. If that bothers you, then neurofeedback probably isn't for you.
The software (the app):
The app is very well thought out. I particularly liked that it "unlocked" new features after you accumulated a certain amount of success. Ample settings are provided to suit your needs. My favorite features are the tracking of data. These are all time and date stamped and kept online associated to your account. This is accessed on the app itself. I would love it if the data could be exported or at least be reviewed on a computer. Maybe they will add that in the future. My next favorite feature is the bird feedback. After a certain amount of time spent in the "calm" mental state, you are rewarded with the sound of birds chirping. Personally I find this more helpful in terms of feedback than the wave sounds. This opinion may change if I can improve my meditation skills from their current state. The app has had a couple of minor bugs, but they are not deal breakers. It allows you to set weekly goals. After setting a weekly goal, the setting stayed on the default value when it was supposed to have changed at the beginning of the week. The next week, it changed to the value I set - a minor annoyance. Another bug which remains currently is that the audio sometimes drops out for a couple of seconds right at the end of a session. Again, not a deal breaker - just a minor flaw. When the app was updated I was optimistic that bug would be fixed, but it was not. If it never gets fixed, it won't affect my usage. Overall I rate the app highly for what Muse says it will do.
The Muse headband and Calm app do what they claim very well. I only rate this 4 instead of 5 because I would love to have the option for more advanced feedback. I've been interested in meditation and neurofeedback for almost 30 years. I've done a lot of research into professional EEG equipment for meditation usage and the price has always been prohibitive. Muse has been the first company I've seen to offer a quality product for a price I can justify. Ideally though, the app would offer feedback and/or data regarding the specific brainwave patterns it reads (Alpha, Beta, Theta etc...). Also, a computer interface would be the icing on the cake - as more expensive EEG units offer.
Cons: Many. I see it as a fraudulent device. It continues to improve your score even if you are active thinking or calm thinking.
1) It reports me as "more calm" when I do challenging brain puzzles while using it.
2) It doesn't differentiate between Theta-Delta waves and Alpha. The only benefit to strengthening your frontal cortex is if you are in Alpha state (focused meditation). One time that I was falling asleep and fell asleep (Theta-Delta) I racked up over 100 "calm birds".
3) I also received a lot of calm birds when I was distracted thinking.
4) It doesn't allow you to delete skewed data sessions if you fell asleep.
5) It's way expensive for not reliably reporting a meditative state.
First, the device and software just aren't stable enough - they feel like beta products. The app (I use the one on Android) is a system hog and often takes minutes to load. On several occasions when trying to look at my 'insights' it said I had no internet connection, even though every other app on my phone (including Twitter, FB, Chrome) was able to reach the internet fine. The device, too, is very finicky - while I was consistently able to get a good scalp connection for all five touch points, the Bluetooth connectivity was terrible: almost every time I was so frustrated by the need to turn the device and my phone's bluetooth off and on repeatedly before getting them to sync that it felt as if I needed a good meditation session *before* using the Muse.
Second and perhaps more crucially: if you are interested in the Muse as a device to support and enhance your existing meditation practice, be aware that there are differences between both concentration and mindfulness versus the "calm" that the Muse helps cultivate. I have been an insight/Vipassana meditator for about a decade, and have reached some of the preliminary levels of concentration and mindfulness. But the Muse headband seems to track low brain activity, rather than whatever neuroscientific markers are directly correlated with concentration or mindfulness. Some examples: the headband measured me as "calm" when my mind was entirely elsewhere (rather than mindful of the present moment), and when I was experiencing some of the markers of concentration (arising of nimitta, etc.), it indicated that my mind was active and not calm.
On my first concerns, perhaps further development of the device and app will make the combination work better. On my second, I don't know the neuroscience of Buddhism & meditation well enough to know whether they are compatible with the Muse's methodology for defining and encouraging "calm." Again this is a great idea that I really wanted to work, but my experience was disappointing enough that I reluctantly returned the product.
When I was researching ways to fight my menopausal insomnia, the Mayo Clinic had suggested biofeedback as a possible solution. However paced breathing did not work for me and mindful mediation was hit or miss if I was wandering. I then found the Muse headband and decided to try it for a week, I could always return it. Within 7 days my resting heart rate dropped 5 points and my sleep restlessness dropped by 15 minutes. I decided to keep it with those results.
While talking to my integrative medicine doctors at the Mayo Clinic they mentioned they were doing a test with women diagnosed with brrast cancer and was using the Muse device to monitor results of the impact of meditation on well being.
I recommend the Muse device with the caveat that you have to take the time, it doesn't make a difference if it is left in the case.