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Digital Brain Conditioning

So this semester, I asked my students in our Web course to find new and interesting technology / communication “trends” and present them every week during our class time. It has been a real hoot and an edifying experience to view and learn about the “stuff” that is out there in the cyber world.

This week one of my students, Alison Aloisio present a headband called “Muse”. What does this headband do you might ask? Well, it trains your brain to relax and distress…sort of a digital meditation device. Hmmm, that sounds fairly innocuous, I thought BUT then Alison presented the details with the promotional material from the website,

It shows a photo of the headband, (they sort of look like audio headphones, perhaps Beats ®) with the tagline, “this is what calmness looks like”. The site goes on to explain how you connect your phone or computer to the Muse device and when you place the headband on your noggin’, it then records your brainwaves. Muse actually gives you feedback if your brainwaves are “stressing” and the images on your phone / computer screen change to reflect your state of mind, (allegedly)…calm blue skies and ocean when you are calm and choppy waters, etc. when you are not so chill.

Ok, I get it. This would help if you were the kind of person who cannot create inner calmness or who may have issues with distressing. But, my question is, why not practice yoga or something? Why not attempt to solve your problems naturally—with your own biological skills. After all, if our biological instincts are in tact, we know what to do when we are threatened, fight or flight, right? However, with Muse, now, we can pay about four hundred bucks and get a device to compel us to take a break and pray….hmmm that seems like an oxymoron, don’t you think?

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