Early next year, a Toronto start-up will launch a stylish headset that can monitor and respond to your brainwaves, introducing the first generation of retail technology driven by what the user is thinking.
InteraXon, a 6-year-old tech company, is now accepting pre-orders for Muse, a comfortable headset that looks like a trendy headband but contains six sensors that monitor the brain's activity. The company says the $269 device will be able to help people understand how their brain works and let them attain peak performance, reduce stress and enjoy better brain-related health.
What it will not do -- at least not yet -- is change TV channels just by thinking about them, or operate a video game through thought processes.
"It's going to be a long time before you can replace your fingers," joked Trevor Coleman, InteraXon's Chief Product Officer, in an interview in August. "They're really good at what they do. They took a long time to develop."
Sitting in the company's bright, spacious headquarters, Coleman had reason to be jocular. InteraXon the previous day had closed a $6 million "A" round of financing. Investors ranged from venture capital funds such as Horizons Ventures of Hong Kong and Omers Ventures of Toronto to more socially oriented investors such as Bridge Builders Collaborative. What attracted the investors to InteraXon is its position in the pending race to produce brainwave-based technology. Obviously, the technology is in its infancy, and InteraXon is on the cutting edge of what could be a large industry.
"We see the Muse headband as the first truly consumer-friendly, thought-controlled computing device," said George Babu, director at Omers Ventures in a statement.
The company plans to use the money to manufacture the Muse headbands, and for marketing for the product, which is already available for presales online at Getyourmuse.com.
"The launch is going quite wonderfully," said CEO Ariel Garten. "Right now, we're putting the finishing touches on it, and it will be out in the new year."
The first generation of Muse can identify characteristics of how we think and present them graphically on a desktop computer or device.
During a demonstration in the InteraXon headquarters, transmissions from a prototype of the headset worked with an animated landscape, like a child's cartoon showing mountains, lakes, clouds and the like. When you intensify your thinking, a flock of birds swoop over the mountains. The harder you think, the faster they fly. Other features on the screen display whether the user feels anxiety or is relaxed. (continued...)
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Posted: 2013-09-26 @ 4:52pm PT
Verdict is still out