We have been following melomind, a very unique gadget, since its first apparition at CES 2015, and since then, the product design is a lot better, (at CES 2016). As for the technology we did not try it, so we will report from the specifications provided on the paper.
On Tuesday, myBrain Technologies, the company behind melomind launched its Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of $50,000 to cover mostly manufacturing costs, and the goal has been reached in less than 24h! You can buy now a melomind relaxation headset at a starting price of $179, for the super early bird package on the Kickstarter page, the product is scheduled to ship in November 2016.
Brainwave monitoring headsets are not new in the consumer market, however, startups are still experimenting on the best consumer use case. We all think about pioneers like Emotiv and its latest product the Emotiv Insight, which helps focus during exercise, that raised over $1.6 million on Kickstarter, or Muse which provides focused meditation, for $249 a unit.
Melomind uses EEG (electroencephalographic) technology to teach users how to relax, which is a great promise for all of us, who are living in the fast paced modern world. We all know that stress is the source of many troubles such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. Obviously, the main differentiator is the integrated headphones, and unlike melomind, Muse does not focus specifically on stress relief, although meditation is known to help relax.
According to the company, the Melomind EEG/audio headset helps you cope with stress by stimulating your deep brain’s relaxation process, so you will become physically and emotionally more resistant to stress. The headset is made of EEG sensors, that measure your brainwaves, and headphones, to play a relaxing music instantly when the system detects that you need to relax.
Wearable tech needs to add more value than simply monitoring the daily activity, to make people really want to wear gadgets, and keep wearing them in the long run. Stress relief and relaxation are the new features that we have seen in the latest werables: similarly to melomind, the SONA connected bracelet offers stress relief, via virtual coaching based on a scientific program and delivered from the companion mobile app.
I have not tried the device, but it looks very promising on the paper. To get more information, I interviewed over email, myBrain CEO & co-founder, Yohan Attal, who holds a PhD in neurosciences, like the other co-founder, Thibaud Dumas – read the Q&A after the specs.
- Bluetooth audio: 4.0 EEG: low energy
- Electrodes 2 pin spring to pass through air. 2 textile sensors
- Low noise EEG (~1u VRMS)
- Stereo sound codec AAC studio
- Battery life 6 hours
- Micro USB pairing
- USN charging
- IOS and Android companion app
- USB charger
- Jack cable
Q&A with myBrain co-founder & CEO, Yohan Attal
When was the previous product launched?
The first version of melomind was launched during the CES 2015. It was very different from the final product: for example, it did not include the wireless audio. After the CES 2015, we had the opportunity to do demonstrations in many international congresses and the enthusiastic feedbacks pushed us to come up with an improved version. The design is now totally different and integrates those feedbacks and more generally the tastes of our community, based on the focus group that we organized. We created a new version that is now released on the market through our Kickstater campaign.
What are the new features compared to the previous version of the melomind?
The released version of melomind was designed to provide a complete audio immersion in an integrated solution. The major change is the implementation of wireless audio headphones managed in the same time as EEG acquisition, which allows a much more immersive experience. Moreover, we introduced a new type of sensors in the foam and we completely re-designed the application to provide a deeper user experience. The new melomind is now available both in iOS and Android, it has a special coaching mode additionally to the initial simple free mode. We also created a new interactive music, with a specific neuro-feedback protocol designed by neuroscientists from the team.
What is your background and when did you start myBrain technologies, the company behind melomind, who are the team members?
Thibaud Dumas, the other co-founder, and myself are both PhD in neurosciences. We met in 2006 in a research laboratory of the Hospital La Pitie-salpetriere, called the LENA. During over 8 years, within the LENA and later at the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM), we carried out research on the development of signal processing algorithms applied to brain activity and the study of cognitive processes such as emotions, resting state and memory. At the end of 2013, we decided to launch an entrepreneurial project with the goal to come up with solutions to improve our well-being, based on the latest discoveries in neurosciences and technological progresses in the world of IoT.
Thanks to the collaboration with the ICM, we reached a high quality standard of our EEG signal. We are now a team of 18 people coming from different backgrounds and different countries (Italy, Greece, USA and obviously France).
How is your product different from the competition such as Muse, Emotiv Insight,?
Most of our competitors are pioneers in the field of Brain Computer Interfaces and we have got a lot of inspiration from them, but we believe that we can go a step further. Our EEG headset is a wireless audio headphone including new types of sensors in order to access parietal regions of the scalp. Melomind was specifically designed with the goal to make it used by anyone, just as easily as you would use regular headphones and everyday applications. The fact that you can plug the branches (that holds some of the sensors) is also a complete innovation.
We also created a coach to help people learn how to relax efficiently thanks to our neurofeedback protocol. Moreover, our headset has a SDK that will allow developers to implement their own apps and innovations with our technology in the future.
Additionally, we work in collaboration with the Brain and Spine Institute which guarantees the high quality signal of melomind.
Do you see any developments of your technology in other fields in the future?
Thanks to the SDK, we decided to keep our technology opened to new apps and to further developments.
Generally, there is a world of opportunities, specifically using our new type of sensors and biomarkers. We are currently working on other mental processes.
In the future, we believe that neuro-technologies will be part of everyday life from sports to gaming and education.
Will you license your technology to former headphone brands in the future?
We are currently building our headphones in collaboration with audio professional manufacturers, but we are open to this possibility.
Brain wave consumer headsets have been around for quite a while now (think pioneers like Emotiv and Neurosky), however, it is still not a mass market product. Do you think My Brain Tech can achieve that in the next 3 years?
The strength of our company is that we combined a complex neuro-technology with an everyday product that everyone uses on a daily basis: headphones. The fact that you can use melomind as regular headphones when you unplug the branches should help people include melomind in their daily life. Moreover, I believe that it will be easier to approach customers that were waiting for a solution to help them improve their health by using a dedicated application to cope with stress.
At myBrain we have at heart to listen carefully to customers dreams and expectations. We do our best to design products that suit to their everyday life. Stay tuned for the next one!