Tech meets traditional mindfulness with Muse

One of the releases that caught the attention in more ways than one at this year’s CES in Las Vegas brings centuries-old meditation practices into the tech age.

This consumer wearable by Canadian tech start-up, Interaxon, aims to cash in on the renewed interest in mindfulness as well as meditation by allowing users to monitor their meditation practice in real time.

Muse was developed after a failed attempt to make devices that lets users move objects with their minds, Matilda-style. While Muse doesn’t exactly do that, it certainly allows users to move their own minds by training themselves in the practice of meditation.

How it works

Dubbed a “personal meditation assistant” by its creators, Muse is a device which users wear around their heads, allowing them to measure the brain’s electrical rhythms, while providing real-time feedback as they meditate.

CNBC reporter and lapsed meditator, Christina Farr, describes the experience as helpful to people that are intimidated by meditation.

“I felt a lot calmer after a few deep breaths. I heard the sound of rain in the background, which got louder when my mind jumped to an errand I needed to run after work (the louder the rain, Muse told me, the busier the mind). I pushed those thoughts away, concentrated on my breath, and after a few seconds, I was rewarded with the sound of a chirping bird (that meant, apparently, that I’d sufficiently calmed down),” says Farr.

“After we wrapped up, I examined a graph on the Muse app that showed me how I did. I did see a few birds, which meant I’d reached a less anxious state a few times during the meditation. And I thought I noticed a correlation between the moments I felt calmer and the data I saw in the app, but it might have been coincidental.”

Muse uses stormy weather to let users know that their minds are jumping around too much to efficiently meditate, and lets them know they’re on the right track by letting the weather calm down. Muse’s accompanying mobile app also features guided meditations and a chance to review the progress made during sessions.

Muse’s latest incarnation, released at CES 2019, is the Muse 2. New features include the ability to monitor a wider range of health signals, including body movements and heart rate, as well as an expanded dashboard to track progress and more educational content.

While the health benefits of mindfulness and meditation – in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing – are well documented, it remains to be seen whether tech will replace or refine traditional meditation practices. Check out the video below to see Muse in action.


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