Muse is a neurofeedback-based app and wireless headset that offers “technology enhanced meditation” for the user through immediate audio feedback about their brain state. It is intended to develop sustained undistracted attention and promote calmness and relaxation. Muse is a product of InteraXon Inc., a brain-sensing technology company launched in 2014 by co-founders Ariel Garten (psychotherapist), Chris Aimone (product developer), and Trevor Coleman (product designer). It can be used by children and adults.
Seven electroencephalogram (EEG) headset sensors detect and measure the brain’s electrical activity during meditation and the app deciphers the data. If the sensors detect calmness, a user will hear calm nature sounds; if the sensors detect restlessness, a user will hear stormy weather as encouragement to return to a calmer, more focused frame of mind.
The Muse Meditation app works with the headset via Bluetooth, transmitting brainwave information to the user’s smartphone or tablet. The app generates graphs and charts that allow users to review results and track progress. Muse 2, the most recent model, has additional features that track heart rate, breath rate, and posture.
The original Muse headband works with the EEG 101 app—a free and open-source software currently available for Android devices—that helps students experientially understand the neuroscientific basis for how EEG technology works and the types of related data that can be visually represented. The Muse Research Tools available directly through InteraXon provide similar educational opportunities to work with raw EEG data.
MUSE reports reaching hundreds of thousands of users and being in over 200 research institutes worldwide, including MIT, Harvard, The Mayo Clinic, and Walter Reed Hospital.
Research projects utilizing Muse include understanding how decisions are made, measuring brain responses to cognitive task and different types of emotional or educational content, managing pain, detecting lapses in sustained attention, and determining how brain activity is impacted by age (Garten, A., n.d.; Muse, 2018).
Muse was nominated in 2019 in the 23rd Annual Webby Awards presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) for Best in Apps, Mobile, and Voice: Connected Products & Wearables. In 2014, it won the User Experience Award Silver Prize for Best Next-Generation Experience.
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