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June 7, 2013

Melon Headband, Mobile App Measures User’s Focus

headbandHeadbands aren’t just for fashion anymore.

A trio of American entrepreneurs have partnered with NeuroSky to develop a prototype headband that, when worn, tracks its users focus during any given activity and reports results straight to their Smartphones.

The product, cleverly dubbed “Melon” is just one of many creative projects garnering attention on Kickstart — a website aimed at raising money to fund quirky, independent projects.

Its developers are seeking $350,000 to make the project a-go and, so far, have raised more than $244,334 from more than 2,200 donors.

The concept is simple — the makers of Melon wanted to create a device that could help provide insight into how the mind works.

“The Melon headband is a wireless brain-sensing device that uses EEG (electroencephalography) to measure your brain activity. From this activity, our algorithms detect your focus, and we use that data to give you personalized feedback on how to improve,” says the Melon product page on Kickstart.

By zeroing in on what affects users’ focus, Melon can help them improve their performance, its designers claim.

Melon’s mobile app provides the user with input tags “indicating activity, environment, behavior and more.”

For example, if the subject is calculating a math problem while listening to classical music, Melon will track his focus while he works and the notify the user if he is becoming distracted, or, alternatively, notify the user that classical music is helping his overall performance.

In the case that the subject’s focus is low, the app provides suggestions like “try taking five deep breaths” to help keep the user on track.

Users can also play challenging games — like folding origami — to test their own level of focus.

The app also calculates what environments and activities help or hurt focus and report those results back to the user, as well as ranks them on a scoring system of one to 10. Working in the morning may provide a better focus environment than working in a crowded bar, for example.

” At Melon we are really interested in the idea of Understood Self, which we are trying to add to the movement of Quantified Self. We want people to have a great feedback system for the data we’re capturing, so it can help with the activities users already do day-to-day, go beyond numbers and scores, and move towards insights and understanding,” says the product’s design team.

There is no word yet on when the first batch of Melon headbands will be ready.

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