Designing for the Brain: A Muse for Innovation
On June 27th, Google demoed work  that was being done for Google Glass (its augmented reality head-mounted display project) a device that would allow a heads up display to every day life by comfortably setting it in-front of the eye taking advantage of our field of view so it “feels” natural. Certain innovations need to be tailored to the user for better adaptation. Results also need to be present in order for the user to USE it and to see use in it. Once a user sees use in something, it becomes apart of their routine.
The next thing you need to successfully integrate something into peoples lives is data. Data. Data. Data. Data. What makes is useful? Why should I use it? There was a fantastic application for the Neurosky MindSet that perfectly exemplified this. It was a meditation tracker . It documented meditation sessions with the MindSet so the user could look back on data the app recorded. The type of data that users feed on for hardware like the FitBit or the Zeo Sleep aid, once you able to open up new avenues to people giving them more insight into themselves, personally is going to be the most impact full product.
Another leap needed to be made, the only logical step for it to go forward was for the hardware itself to be wireless, to go mobile. InteraXon were of the first (if not the first) to bring BCI from the computer to the mobile platform by adding a new thought-controlled element to SecretExits award winning ZenBound 2  which was made in collaboration with digital artist Alex McLoad .
On October 22ND InteraXon announced their campaign on Indiegogo  for their new EEG bluetooth driven Muse headband (which at this time has more than reached its goal!) I sent a message to their Media Relations about some spec details and some information on the construction of the device itself and they replied “Our Muse headband was designed from the ground up. We considered the types of applications we planned on building, reviewed other products and wearable technologies, and tested our designs with consumers numerous times to ensure Muse was comfortable, lightweight and well-designed so that users could wear the headband anytime and anywhere.” I asked the question, knowing InteraXon and NeuroSky partnering with great products in the past, what involvement if any was there for the Muse headband and they replied“InteraXon have used NeuroSky headsets, in addition to other headsets, as well as making our own, though with Muse, we are not using the NeuroSky ASIC or their sensors in this design”
The hardware itself looks to be light weight, and offers 4 sensors which should warrant accurate results for better data collection and when/if applications emerge that require/suggest outside activity, you wont look like this guy.
But other than that, its really hard to say at this point how it will perform. However the more I read about InterXon the more excited I get. When you look at their past products, they aren’t just trying to get a product out, they are trying to design the future. Bundled with the hardware is a single application that comes off as a brain exercise tally sheet and workout program. I say that because I see A LOT of brain games, and honestly, they annoy me to no end and are no more “exercise” than balancing your check book is. Flash games ported to SDK triggers that look like they were designed for infants. But from what Ive seen and read about the application itself, this could be “the next big thing”.
As I mentioned earlier, the Muse campaign met its 150k goal on Nov 18, but are hoping to double that about by the time their campaign ends NEXT FRIDAY on Dec 7th 2012. For that extension they added 125 Early Bird and another 25 Developer’s Deluxe packages. For the professional developers out there I would suggest the Developers Muse package @ $190 so not only do you get the SDK, but you also revive all the analytic tools and software InterXon uses to create applications. For the more homebrew hobbyist the $145 Early Bird Pledge package is a good choice because you still get the SDK, just not all the fancy schmancy analytical applications. I cant wait to hear more from their Media Relations about more news and more in-depth about what the bundled software is capable of. Stay tuned for more info!