This Futuristic Gadget Actually Improves Focus and Reduces Stress

Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband

READ THIS NEXT {{displayTitle}} READ When we first took Muse—the brain-sensing headband—out of its box, we felt like we had unpacked something from the future (or at least from the Jetsons). You mean to tell us that we stick this horseshoe-shaped band across our forehead and behind our ears and it’ll start measuring our brainwaves? Yup. Just like measuring your heart rate can help boost the intensity of your workout, measuring brainwaves can help improve focus and reduce stress.

The gadget uses Bluetooth to sync with an accompanying app that coaches you every step of the way. First off: measuring your typical brain activity. Once Muse measures the baseline, a friendly narrator instructs you to close your eyes and transports you to a to a virtual beach with the sounds of waves crashing, wind blowing, and, if you’re lucky, birds cooing. The calmer you get during the exercise (a.k.a. the lower your brain activity), the more bonus birds you’ll hear. At the end, Muse shows pretty graphs of the data it collected so you can see exactly which moments you were the most and least focused.

We found ourselves wrapped up in the game-like interface, coming back to beat our focus score from the previous day. It’s like the creators of Muse combined meditation, a white noise machine, and Angry Birds. We couldn’t believe how quickly it taught us to block out all of the outside noise during our daily 10-minute exercise. And the effects were long-lasting: We came out of every exercise feeling more focused, refreshed, and calm. We’ve always been big proponents of working out. Now, we're championing the importance of carving out a few minutes every day to stay mentally fit.

READ THIS NEXT: 40 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less 34U34 Mental Health Promo