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Axio's EEG headband helps you teach your brain to focus (hands-on)

Michael Gorman, @Numeson
June 19, 2012
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Usually when an EEG sensor headset graces these pages, it's used to peer into your thoughts or grant the wearer the power to control other gadgets with his or her mind. While such uses have appeal, start-up company Axio has a new EEG headband that aims to help you learn to better control your own brain. It tracks your level of mental focus in real-time and provides positive reinforcement audio feedback when you're mentally locked in. The neoprene band packs a trio of electrodes, a PCB with a Bluetooth radio and audio out, and a battery pack to power everything. It works by identifying the brainwave readings that correlate to ideal executive function in your pre-frontal cortex and shooting that data to your computer or phone via Bluetooth. Axio's software then shows an onscreen graph that charts your focus level in real-time, and for folks who prefer a more literal tracking method, there's a photo above the chart that moves in and out of focus along with your mind. Additionally, the headband provides pleasing audio neurofeedback when you're focused in order to train you to stay mentally engaged.

Gallery: Axio EEG headband hands-on | 7 Photos

Unfortunately, we couldn't get much more information about the neurofeedback functionality, as the technology behind it is the company's secret sauce, and it won't divulge more until it's got the cash to bring the band to market. We also weren't able to actually test the band to see how it works, as it's still in the prototype phase and there's still a kink or two left to work out. Axio did tell us that the prototype we got our mitts on was the result of just six short months of work, and that after hacking together the original design using Arduino, the current iteration has a custom PCB better suited to Axio's needs. Co-founder Arye Barnehama also informed us that the band should be on sale by the end of summer, though he wouldn't say for how much or where we'll be able to pick one up. Sometime after it hits store shelves, Axio plans to release an SDK so that enterprising devs can make their own focus-aiding software and implement whatever audio feedback they prefer to help them take care of business -- a dose of Bachman-Turner Overdrive ought to do the trick.

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