Muse: an ironic but helpful? App for mediation

My smarter and hipper younger sister is loaning me her Muse brain sensing headband, knowing that I have developed a recent interest in meditation.

I have to say, I went through some rapid-cycle opinion changes on this device:

  1. Hey, cool a new technology of some sort.
  2. Wait, this is for meditation?
  3. Neat, it has galvanic skin sensors to detect brainwaves maybe.
  4. Why do I need a technology to help me disconnect from technology?
  5. I’m already pretty good at meditation; now I can have an objective measure of how good I am.
  6. Hold on, isn’t meditation about not judging oneself and accepting ourselves for who we are? How is this helping?
  7. Oooh, neat, this fits my big head pretty well. And hey the app plays ‘rain’ sounds that calm down and get quiet as my brain waves relax. Actual biofeedback without a neuropsychology appointment and a $1000 rig?
  8. Hey, I’m not very good at this. I’m getting thunderstorm sounds from my iPhone speakers. Ironic on several levels.
  9. I’m pretty sure that I’m good at meditation but the app is just a lousy, poorly written piece of code that can’t appreciate my type of calmness. That’s it.
  10. I got the rain to calm down! and heard my first chirping bird, indicating a few seconds of continuous calm! Way cool! These designers are geniuses.
  11. Uh oh, my excitement triggered more rain.
  12. This is pretty cool.

Despite my schizophrenic waffling on this, I convinced my generous sister to offer the headband to me on a long-term, no-collateral loan. Best middle sister ever.

CMIO’s take? Sometimes it is fun to use technology to disconnect from technology and look inside yourself. Yes, I know that I am a collection of clashing contradictions. That’s my thing.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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