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CNN tests Muse, the mind-reading headband

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • $200 Muse headband reads brainwaves and allows you to to play smartphone games with your mind
  • At LeWeb 12, creator Ariel Garten demonstrated the ability to add emotional content to emails
  • CNN's Stephanie Busari gets her mind read by the headband at LeWeb
  • Headband launches in June 2013 -- but available now for limited period

(CNN) -- It's the $199 headband that will allow you to control things using your mind, the makers say.

The Muse headband was unveiled this week at LeWeb and CNN caught up with founder of Interaxon Ariel Garten for a demonstration of the brainwave-sensing headband.

Garten says Muse works using the same technology used in hospitals known as Electroencephalography (EEG), which records electrical activity along the scalp.

Muse is embedded with four sensors that allows you to see and track your brain's activity, in the same way a heart rate monitor gives information about your physical activity. You can also use your mind to control games and applications supplied with the headband, Garten says.

"It interacts with content directly with your mind so you can play games that you are able to control with your mind," says the Canadian neuroscientist and entrepreneur.

Connecting to any device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop via bluetooth, Muse can be worn on the go and includes a "brain fitness suite" app that tracks the state of your brain or can help you de-stress.

Research labs have been using this tech for years, now its time to bring all this... to the consumer.
Neuroscientist Ariel Garten

She adds: "And as you play the games, you are working with and strengthening your mind. The most important thing is that it can help you improve your cognitive and emotional function, it shows you your brain activity and gives you targeted exercises to improve both cognitive and emotional functioning."

Muse will help with improving brain function, power and memory in the same way Sudoku and crosswords do presently, explains Garten. "But they are doing that on an indirect level, we are moving it one scale up with Muse," she says.

LeBlog: Discover all the action from LeWeb on CNN

Garten first talked about the concept of thought-controlled computer technology at LeWeb two years ago.

Since then she has raised nearly double the $150,000 she sought on the Indiegogo crowd-funding website.

"Research labs have been using this tech for years, now its time to bring all this understanding and improvements to the consumer, taking it from the labs to your inbox," she says.

"The most important part of ourselves is the mind and it has been rather inaccessible. This is a tool that helps unlock the mind in really exciting ways. People seem pretty excited," she adds. "There hasn't been a person I've spoken to who hasn't wanted one."

This is a tool that helps unlock the mind in really exciting ways.
Neuroscientist Ariel Garten

I confess to being excited too as I slipped on the lightweight and sleek-looking headband which rests on the forehead and tucks behind the ears, like a pair of glasses.

Muse was connected to a laptop and felt comfortable as I got ready to try out a special demo application called EmoType, a mood-based text editor that changes fonts depending on your brainwave activity.

It felt strange watching my brain in real-time on the screen in front of me as Garten asked me to blink and showed me how the action impacted my brainwaves.

More from LeWeb: Cyborg anthropologist: We can all be superhuman

Then she asked me to type something. "I miss my daughter," I wrote and was surprised to see the font suddenly change to a more flowery style as I typed out daughter. Ariel explained that as I focused on what to type in the beginning, the text was clean and tight and as I became more open and relaxed the text appeared more flowery.

When someone is smiling, the letters will suddenly appear very big, she explained.

Undoubtedly, EmoType, though only a demo at present, has huge implications for new ways of communication in the real and virtual world in the future.

Developers will be excited at the possibility of creating applications that could perhaps be used to convey information through avatars.

Could it be the end of the exclamation mark?

Muse is available to buy on the Indiegogo website until December 7 for early adopters and after that, will be available again in June 2013, when they start shipping.

Are you excited about Muse? Will you be buying it? Let us know in the comments.

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