Biofeedback systems can help to achieve inner balance, reduce stress or monitor one’s relaxation techniques. We have already examined three different systems with different approaches. All systems tested to date monitor the heartbeat and heart rate variability (HRV) of the user and provide feedback through an app or software.
The biofeedback system from Muse, the “brain-sensing headband,” uses a completely different approach.
How does the Muse headband by InteraXon work?
Instead of putting on the pulse and the HRV to measure stress and relaxation, the Muse Headband goes a completely different way. A sensor that is attached to the ears via the ears, the brain waves are measured and evaluated. In medicine, this technique is also known as electroencephalography or EEG.
About seven specially calibrated sensors, which are installed in the headband, the activity of the brain is measured and transmitted via Bluetooth to the Muse app.
The Muse app is the central element of the biofeedback system and well done. After the start of the app and the connection with the headband different meditation exercises can be started. The guided meditations are backed by a soundscape that directly indicates how focused you are.
The following soundscapes are available:
- city Park
- Ambient Music
Depending on the degree of relaxation and depth of meditation, the background noise changes subtly. If you are particularly relaxed, you will hear birds singing.
You can then be guided through various meditations; the voice is very pleasant but only available in English. Further meditations and exercises can be downloaded easily and free via the app.
After completing an exercise, you can save the data and have it transferred to the cloud. So you can watch his progress over a longer period.
If you only have a few minutes, you can relax with a short meditation of three minutes, if you have more time, you can set up to 60 minutes.
Muse as an open system, more apps
Because the Muse system is open and accessible to interested developers, there are also a small number of alternative or complementary apps. I find the app ” EEG 101 ” very interesting, which shows in an entertaining and informative way how an EEG works and how even brain waves can trigger actions. With ” Brain2Midi ” the signals measured via the Muse Headband can be transmitted to a Midi-Controller and create music with brainwaves. The ” Muse Monitor ” displays the measured EEG signals in real-time and also has them exported in CSV format.
But even outside the smartphone, there is a lively community that develops applications for Muse or continues to research in this direction. Thus, the Muse Biofeedback System is not only interesting for users but also for universities or research institutions.
The conclusion to the Muse headband
I liked the Muse Biofeedback system very much because of the ease of use and the very good guided meditations. If I want to relax and do without a guided meditation, I just let one of the soundscapes run and get immediate feedback on the subtle changes, whether I’m still meditating properly or digressing with the thought. For me, the guided meditations in English are well understood, but it is a hindrance for many users.
However, I find the number of alternative apps and research projects to Muse impressive. Here much will develop in the next few years and exciting new applications for Muse arise.