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Trouble focusing? These smart headphones will fix that

Modern life is distracting. One minute you are writing an email to a colleague and the next you are watching a video of a goat fainting.

How are we supposed to concentrate when things like YouTube exist?

Well, it looks like Canadian company Mindset is going to do something about that, having created a set of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones designed to help users reach “deeper levels of focus”.

According to the company’s Kickstarter page, the headphones are embedded with five electroencephalography (EEG) sensors that measure the electrical activity in your brain.

Using “advanced machine learning” the headphones recognise the patterns in the EEG signal that show when you are concentrating and then tracks your focus throughout the day.

The more you use the headphones, the more they learn about you. Using neurofeedback, they can give you suggestions about how to improve your productivity. For example, you can schedule emails during your downtime, and save your best hours for what the company calls “deep work sessions”.

During these sessions, you can set the headphones to alert you via a tone whenever your mind begins to stray. Kiss those fainting goat videos goodbye, folks.

The company believes that all this will lead to improved concentration and increased productivity throughout your day.

mindset stat

I spent 19,000 of those hours watching animal videos.

If you aren’t interested in having your brain monitored, you can also use the headphones the old-fashioned way and listen to music. Mindset has partnered with audio company Onkyo to equip the headphones with state-of-the-art noise cancelling and sound.

To support its product, the company has provided links to research showing that EEG technology has been used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD), train NASA astronauts and improve creativity in Olympic figure skaters.

The Kickstarter raised $USD1,045,190 – far above the initial target of just $100K.

Upon reaching the $500K mark, the company unlocked the ‘stretch goal’ of an embedded microphone for hands-free voice calls. The next stretch goal, at $600K, added a feature that focuses on training creativity.

Personally, I have a suspicion that distraction is actually a vital part of the creative process. Even when we aren’t focused our brains are ticking along, and it is quite possible that watching a bunch of videos on YouTube will give you ideas.

I could be wrong, and perhaps enslaving yourself to the will of a pair of headphones is a great thing. I’ll let you decide.

The headphones are expected to commence engineering validation testing next month, with shipment to backers scheduled to begin in December. For further updates, you can follow Mindset on Twitter.

If you did back this project, you could be enjoying improved focus by Christmas. If you missed out on the Kickstarted prices, you’re looking at RRP of $USD349 when they hit the market. Until then, you’ll just have to force yourself to get back to work.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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