When technology embraced self-care, a new genre of gadgets came into existence known as Fitness Wearable. These fitness gadgets provide detailed insights into our health and fitness and push us further in pursuit of our fitness goals while keeping us connected by syncing with our mobile phones. There are many fitness gadgets like fitbit charge 2, garmin vivosmart3, Samsung gear2, moov now, etc. that remarkably track the vital body parameters like our sleep, steps count, heart rate, vo2 max and various sports activities, but tracking the activities of brain was still elusive, until InteraXon came up with an innovative series of fitness trackers called Muse 1 & Muse 2 headband.
In 2014 a Canadian firm with the name of InteraXon launched its flagship product Muse to track the brain activity in real-time and thus help its customers to leverage technology in learning the correct technique of meditation. While all the Fitness Activity Tracker come in the form of wrist bands or smart watches, this brain-tracking device came as a headband.
By feeding us with inputs about the current state of our mind, and thus helping in meditating correctly, this Muse 1 has been a revolutionary invention in the fitness world. Now towards the end of 2018, the company has come up with an upgraded version called Muse 2 headband to provide a more holistic meditative experience to its users.
Product: Muse 2
Price: Rs 26,504.37 /-
- Mind (EEG)
- Heart (PPG + Pulse Oximetry)
- Body (Accelerometer)
- Breath (PPG + Gyroscope)
- 5 Hours of Continuous Use (Rechargeable Li-Ion battery)
- 1 Headband, Multiple Users
- Wireless Connection: BT 5.0
- MicroUSB port (cable included) and LED Indicator
- Muse App Compatibility (iOS, Android)
Muse 2 Headband Design:
The Muse 2 gadget comes in white coloured cardboard box, with a charging cable and three manual booklets. In looks, this sleek headgear is a slimmer and smaller version of its predecessor Muse 1. The body of this Fitness Activity Tracker is made up of plastic with silicone hooks on each end. This Muse 2 headband comes in black colour with a matte finish. On its inner side, there are 5 EEG sensors in the middle to read the mental activities and an optical Photoplenthysmography (PPG sensor emitting red light toward the right arm of the headband, to monitor the heart rate, breathing process and blood flow.
Furthermore, this compact fitness gadget is also equipped with a gyroscope and an accelerometer to track your body movements and thus to give you an astounding meditative experience. The fitness headband neatly accommodates a micro-USB slot for charging and a power button too. The headband comes with an adjustable arm design to fit all head sizes but you have to handle it with caution as it seemingly lacks strength.
A big let down with Muse 2 headband considering its hefty price tag is that it doesn’t come with a protective case albeit its fragility. This might force you to spend a few more bucks, just to buy a case.
Battery life: Muse 2 battery can last up to 5 hours.
Setting up of muse 2 fitness tracker requires you to download its dedicated MUSE app on your Smartphone. The app is promising with no performance glitches and is available both on IOS and android store. Once you download the app, you may connect it with your Muse 2 Headband via Bluetooth and enjoy various types of meditations it has to offer. InteraXon has shared its plans of adding few new types of meditation, like walking meditation; so new upgrades are expected in the app in near future.
Next, start your meditating session with muse 2 by wearing the Fitness Activity Tracker firmly on your forehead with the help of the headband status indicator on the app. This indicator has a circle divided in five sections of different colors. When all sections are filled with respective colors, it signifies that all sensors are in good contact with your skin and is ready to track your performance. Now select the time and type of meditation you want to go for through the app and start your session.
How it works:
Muse 2 is an EEG based Fitness Activity Tracker. Electroencephalogram (or EEG) is the fastest imaging technique which has been widely used in hospitals and neuroscience researches, over the century to study the activities of brain. It records and digitizes the electric signals generated by the brain as it works.
The Canadian start-up InteraXon was the first to come up with the novel idea of using this technology for the purpose of guided meditation. Muse 1 was their maiden gadget to use this technology.
In muse 2 InteraXon went ahead to include a few other sensors like PPG, pulse oximetry breath, gyroscope and an accelerometer to monitor the breathing process, heart rate and body movements in conjunction with brain tracking through EEG during the meditative session. Thus this multi-sensor Fitness Activity Tracker can track the mental as well as physical activities of its users in real time while giving audio cues to improve their meditative performance. These audio cues come in the forms of weather sounds like a storm, strong wind, tweeting of birds, ocean, etc.
So for instance if you are under stress muse will play the sounds of stormy weather. When you are not able to focus you will get to hear the sounds of heavy rain and when you are able to calm your mind Muse 2 will reward you with relaxing sounds of tweeting bird. Similarly in heart meditation, you may infer about your pulse rate from the sounds of drums, in stillness meditation wind chimes will tell you about the body movements and in breathing meditation a calm voice will guide you to inhale and exhale along with the background sounds of breathing in and out. In this way muse 2, guides you to do your meditation as it is ought to be done and even gives you a pat on the back in the form of calmer sounds when you get it right.
At the end of each meditative session muse app will evaluate user’s performance on the basis of three scores. First is the number of birds, which signifies how many times the user was able to get into the less anxious state. The second score is named “recoveries”, which tells you how many times the user was able to align his brain, breath or heart rate back in the right direction and finally the third score called “muse points”, which rates your overall meditative performance.
The muse app also allows its users to express their feelings & feedback about their own meditative session in the form of journal entry. There is another interesting feature of “out-meditating” with friends and colleagues in muse 2 Fitness Activity Tracker. This allows the users to meditate in groups and compare their meditative performances with one another.
- Insights and ease of use
- Sleek & Lightweight
- Good battery life
- Extensive tracking
- User friendly app
- Somewhat delicate
- Fitment and calibration hassles
Meditation is an age old practice of self care. In today’s world where stress is one of the leading causes of illness, many people are turning back to this exercise in their quest for happiness and relaxation. But meditating correctly is a difficult task in itself. People who engage in meditation often remain unsure of their performance levels and have no idea of improving the same. Muse 2 headband is the solution for all these troubles. It is a sensitive device that delivers what it claims. Muse 2 promises to be the meditation coach you have always been looking for. It corrects you, the moment you go wrong and appreciates you when you are meditating in the correct way.
The Meditation Master Gadget
The user friendly muse app gives you a deep insight about your meditative performance. Wearing this hi-tech headband correctly is the most crucial and tricky part. Although the app guides you to an extent but still beginners will take time to learn the correct way where all the sensors can have a good contact with your skin. It feels little awkward initially to wear this unconventional device but then you would rarely meditate in public places. Therefore, this doesn’t really matter and after few minutes into the meditation you would forget that you are wearing anything unusual.
The functionality of out-meditating with others may not appeal to many who would like to cut off with the outer world during meditation. Moreover, the idea of meditation is to relax your mind and not to over stress yourself to perform better. Muse 2 is definitely slimmer, advanced and more compact version of Muse 1 but it is more delicate too, which is why you always remain worried about handling it correctly. Moreover it doesn’t come with a carry case, which is a big disappointment.
Finally, I would say Muse 2 headband is certainly a revolutionary invention. Just the fascinating idea of being able to track the activities of our brain may compel many to try out this Fitness Activity Tracker by InteraXon. I will recommend this product to all those beginners who are struggling to meditate correctly. For all those who have already mastered the art of meditation can use this high tech meditation device to keep a track of their performances and to improve it further.
All images credits :- muse 2 official website.
Aafiya is a health and wellness enthusiast. She utilizes her spare time to contribute insightful articles around day to day lifestyle challenges and their remedies, that all can relate to.
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