It’s easy enough to track your running time and measure your fitness over the course of a few months, but can you see how your brain responds to calm neutral and meditation? Muse is a company that makes sensor-laden headbands that can be worn while you meditate.
Muse was the first to launch its headbands in 2014. It has since produced three other models.
The Muse 2 is the latest headband, a major upgrade to the original model. It adds additional sensors and data in a sleeker, more sci-fi-worthy device.
This resulted in a Muse headband with 7 sensors embedded within it that can monitor your brain, posture, and heart rate while you meditate.
It is useful because it has a number of audio instructions and real-time feedback. This will allow you to know when your mind wanders through audio cues or music.
The Muse 2 is designed to help you regain your focus over time. This will improve your practice and allow you to be more mindful.
The Muse 2 is not only a different product in wearables, but it’s also a different product for TechRadar. We’ve tried our best to review Muse 2 and give you a rating that is based on our experiences with similar products and lifestyle wearables.
The Brain Sensing Headband Makes Meditation More Fun
The Muse 2 is, confusingly, the third iteration (apart from the meditation glasses InteraXon made to Smith Optics) brain sensing headband.
Although it looks smaller and slimmer than its predecessors, Muse 2 is able to contain more components. This represents a huge leap forward for the meditation practice wearable platform.
The Muse 2 headband now has an accelerometer, an optical heart-rate monitor, and a gyroscope.
The Muse 2 meditation app now offers three types of meditation. One that uses the first two sensors where you attempt to stay still; one that uses pulse to lower your heart rate; and another that uses all three sensors to guide you through breathing exercises.
The Muse 2 launch has left the Muse 2 app with very few options for this type of exercise. Only one type of breathing exercise is available: breath in for four seconds and out for six. There are also only three “lessons” for the heart meditation section.
InteraXon will continue to add new lessons each week after the launch. The platform’s progress so far, and the acquisition of Meditation Studio in July 2018, give good reasons to believe that this step-by-step process will be real.
The multiple sensors offer a wide range of options. The company promises to add a fifth type of headband: walking meditation, within a few months. This one is different from the others. It is important to keep your eyes open.
Why Muse 2
Muse 2 can help you improve your mental and bodily well-being through meditation’s many benefits in real time. It makes meditation sessions easy and rewarding.
The Muse 2 meditation device can also provide benefits like increased focus, reduced stress response, and better overall resilience. Meditation can be powerful, and it’s easy to make it accessible.
How Does It Work
Muse 2 detects your brainwaves and helps you control them. To keep your calm state. This is done by using advanced signal processing to transform your brainwaves into weather sounds. Peaceful weather is when your mind is clear and calm. When your focus drifts, you start to hear stormy conditions. This is a signal to get your attention back on track.
Muse 2 Specs:
- Mind sensors via EEG
- Heart sensors via PPG + Pulse Oximetry
- Body sensors via Accelerometer
- Breath sensors via PPG + Gyroscope
- 5 Hours of Continuous Use via Rechargeable (Li-Ion) battery
- 1 Headband, Multiple Users
- Wireless Connection: BT 5.0
- MicroUSB port (cable included) and LED Indicator
- Muse App Compatibility (iOS 11, Android 5 or higher)
Muse 2 makes meditation simple to begin, with only 3 minute sessions. The software removes all the guesswork and shows you how to become fully body-aware using real-time feedback from brain activity, heart beat, and posture. It rewards you for your accomplishments, allows you to set goals and tracks your progress towards them. Muse 2 makes fun, and you’ll soon have a habit. This is one habit you’ll want to keep.
- User-friendly app
- Great audio instructions
- You can create multiple accounts
You will need to charge your headset, download the Muse App, create an account, and then connect the headset to it via Bluetooth.
Next comes calibration. A pie chart is provided to users with information about each sensor. When each sensor receives a signal, the pie chart fills up.
Adjusting the band takes only a few moments. You can move it up or down, make it smaller or larger. It’s easy and the audio guide will help you through the process. You can also watch the colors fill up in the pie charts one by one.
After you have done the initial calibration, it should be easy to use the Muse headband again. However, you will need to make sure that all sensors work before you use the headband again.
Seven out of ten times, the process was quick and easy to follow. The sensors didn’t work a few times, but we were able to sit upright and away from other devices. This could have caused problems with our posture or Bluetooth interference.
You can use the same headband for multiple people by simply signing into the app. This means that only one person can use Muse 2, but it is possible to share the headband with family and friends, as it is quite expensive.
Tracking, Muse App
- Amazing audio feedback
- Sensors collected fascinating data
- More detailed and personal information
Click on the Muse App Meditate tab to start meditating. Here you can choose from Mind (EEG), Heart(PPG+ pulse oximeter), body (accelerometer), breath (PPG+ gyroscope), and just one Timer.
You can personalize the audio feedback that you receive from different types of meditation. The Mind meditation, for example, has a rainforest soundscape. This means that when you listen to it, heavy rain means you are not concentrating. Light rain means you’re calming your mind and focusing.
The Heart Muse 2 meditation employs a drum soundscape. When you listen to the audio, it tells you that the drumbeat is faster when your heart rate is high and slower when it slows down.
The soothing sounds of rain and drums were a good indicator of whether you need to calm your breathing or focus more. It was a refreshing change from hearing guided meditations tell us that our minds could wander based on little data. This can often be inaccurate and can be confusing.
These audio feedback soundscapes can also be used as guided instructions. This allows you to experiment with different types of practice every time. The first lesson is about being aware of your body’s movements, while the second teaches you how to control the sounds.
A range of lessons can be downloaded from third-party specialists and apps, including the Deepak Guides Muse 2 which is an interactive meditation experience led by Deepak Chopra.
You can see your meditation history, your goals, challenges, and any milestones. The icons are bright and easy to recognize. You can also see the badges and goals that provide motivation once you log in.
To view a complete list of times that you have used Muse 2 for meditation, click on the “meditation history” option. You can then click on any of them to view information about your meditation practice. This includes a graph that displays all data.
Only one type of meditation can be done at a given time, and only one sensor can be activated. They are all color-coded. For example, a body meditation that senses your movement and posture is yellow. The graph for this type of meditation displays the changes in your movements based upon readings from an embedded accelerometer.
Your EEG readings are detected by the brain meditation, which is colored purple. This graph shows you the EEG sensor readings. It is the most detailed information that you can view.
This is because you can click on the graph to see the detailed breakdown of brain activity and heart rate. Unlike other meditations, where you are presented with a single graph that you cannot zoom into, the app lets you click into it.
Although the results are fascinating and informative, it is a shame that you cannot interact with the EEG sensor during mind and breathing meditation or receive more detailed graph breakdowns.
It would be helpful to have a clearer picture of your meditation results.
Meditation daily can help you track your calm and progress over time. After your first few sessions, you won’t know if you did well.
Muse 2 will tell you how you did in each meditation session by using metrics such as ‘Muse Points.’ These points are rewarded for every second that you meditate.
You can also find ‘Recoveries’ that track how often you go from Active to Relaxed during your sessions. There’s also ‘Birds, which tracks how many birds you heard during your meditation. This indicates that you were in a Relaxed condition for a longer period of time.
Although these stats might sound fascinating, you are presented with numbers without any explanation of how they compare to other scores. Is it good to recover frequently and are 13 birds good?
Another feature that could be added to the Muse 2 is comparison. You can not share your meditation results. However, you can see other people’s progress and badges.
While some people won’t allow anyone to view their results, we would love to see a league table that compared us to our friends or family, just like the Fitbit app. Or to be able to join in on challenges together.
We wanted more data from Muse 2. However, it is very interesting and motivated us. We were eager to meditating again to see how our previous sessions had improved.
Muse 2 Review App
The Muse 2 app uses the exact same scoring system for all new meditations as its regular brain sensing headband meditation.
At the end of each Muse meditation session, you get three scores: a number (which is when the Muse 2 registers low brain activity relative to the baseline set in the calibration), a few “recoveries” which are moments when your brain, heart rate, or breath were in the right direction), as well as “muse points” that reflect how well you did overall.
However, the sounds that you hear in each type of regular meditation are very different. The brain-based version will still allow you to hear birds when you’re calm, and you can choose to hear a nature sound (a rainstorm or desert wind, ambient music, or city noises) when you’re not.
Even though the meditations have birds scored at the end, they don’t seem to include them in any of their other meditations. The sound of a drum represents your heart rate meditation’s quickening and slowing pulse. You will hear a voice on the breath meditating telling you when you should breathe in and out. There is also ambient noise on your inhale, and a pleasing whooshing sound as you exhale.
The stillness meditation also gives you wind chimes if your move, so it seems a good reason to remain still.
There is a little bit of New Ageyness in the Muse app, as with all meditation apps. This could turn off beginners. The default Muse 2 app features a guided meditation introduction that uses a slow, quiet voice and repeats itself quite a lot. After a few years of practice, I might be zen enough for this to work. For now, I prefer to ignore the voice and get to the point.
InteraXon still has made every effort to make the learning curve as steep as possible. Before you attempt any meditation for the first-time, friendly animated videos will play. If your headband doesn’t work, there’s an on-screen guide that will help you. Try tightening it, cleaning your forehead, or adding water to the electrodes.
For a year, you can use the Muse 2 every weekday. It costs only a dollar per month. This is a reasonable price to pay for more tranquility.
InteraXon has also a wealth of scientific evidence to support its claims about the Muse’s effectiveness. The company boasts hundreds of third party research papers using the Muse. This includes a study by the University of Milan which showed that four weeks of Muse 2 use led to an improvement in cognitive performance.
You will have a calmer, more focused, and less distracted brain. This is something that none of my must-carry devices can offer. That’s why I expect the Muse 2 to continue being one of my most important gadgets for at LEAST four more years.
Charging And Battery
- Lasts approximately 2 weeks for typical daily use
- It takes 2 hours to charge
- Includes a micro USB cable
The Muse 2 has a small light bar in the right ear that shows how fully charged it is.
It can be used continuously for five hours on a single charge. If you set it up for a few minutes each day, then you meditate for 15 minutes, it should last you about two weeks before you need to recharge it again.
Muse claims that it takes around two hours to charge the headband, from empty to full. This was also true when it came to charging the headband again. The micro USB cable provided can be used to connect to any USB plug.
The Original Muse 2 is a smart and ambitious wearable designed to help you meditate. It also helps you track your meditation practice over time. Muse very justified purchase.
It’s device is bound to appeal primarily to people who have meditated before and are interested in learning more about the effects it has on their bodies and minds. It is also helpful for people who want to meditate but need more structure and data to help them stay motivated.
The sensor array includes an EEG and PPG, pulse oximetry, and pulse oximetry sensors. It also has an accelerometer and gyroscope.
- It’s very easy to use
- Outstanding App
- It’s fun and rewarding to do effective brain training
- It’s delicate to use a headset
- It takes a few sessions to get used to how it works
All of the body sensors are calibrated and can collect data. The data is presented in graphs or rewards badges, depending on how you meditate. It is great to see how the data stacks up over time and build awareness about life events that may have affected your practice.
We would have loved to see more information and benchmarking on the Muse 2 results in order to make it more durable.
It’s fascinating to look at an EEG graph and see that we heard 18 birds during Mind and breathing meditation. Is that really good? Do we need to strive for calmer? How does it compare with others?
Although you could argue that it doesn’t matter if it’s good, or bad, it would be helpful to have some context as some numbers and badges can seem a bit arbitrary.
We’d like to be able, in addition to some context and personalization, to look deeper into the graphs of all meditation types except Mind and breath meditation. You can only interact with this graph right now.
We found the data it collected to be fascinating and motivating. It was fun to compare the graphs day after day as we tested.
Although it’s difficult to recommend a completely new device, it’s possible to make a difference in your life if you have the money, are motivated by data, badges, and progress tracking.
How do you meditate with Muse?
Muse can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Simply connect to Muse Meditation, then put your headphones on and close your eyes. Headset put behind the ears. After your session is over, you will be able to review your results and track how far you have come.
Can you use Muse 2 without the app?
Muse 2 must connect to the Muse app for compatible devices running iOS 11+/Android 5+. You can be using Muse 2 to create your own guided meditations by connecting Muse 2 to your device and then playing them on another device.
Where are the sensors on MUSE 2?
Muse 2 now has PPG, pulse oximetry mind heart body, and breathing sensors that are located on the righthand side of your forehead. The Muse 2 headband now has an accelerometer, an optical heart-rate monitor, and a gyroscope.