Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This crazy headband uses music and brainwaves to make you a better athlete

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A person wearing the Alphabeats headband.Alphabeats

This company wants you to put on a headband and listen to music while the device’s sensors in it read your brainwaves to help you focus and to increase your sporting performance. It’s called Alphabeats, and the electroencephalogram (EEG) headband combines with your choice of music and an app on your phone to help train your brain to either stay in its top-focused state or concentrate on its requirements in the moment, whether that’s relaxation, recovery, or sleep.

Aimed at professional ahtletes or highly motivated amateurs, Alphabeats won a CES 2023 Innovation award and is now available for pre-order. It costs $499 at the moment, but the price will increase to $689 after the promotional period ends. You probably won’t be surprised to learn (given the recent growing and  unfortunate trend) that this price includes a year’s subscription to the service, but at the time of writing, there’s no information about how much the subscription will cost after the first year.

Train your brain to operate at its optimal state.

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Alphabeats works with feed.fm to provide your favorite music, or to play what’s described as “science-backed functional music” to focus your mind and encourage relaxation and meditation. While you’re listening through your choice of headphones, the app shows brainwave activity from the EEG headband, apparently allowing you to “train” your brain to operate at its optimal state for what you’re trying to achieve. It’s not exactly clear how you do this, but it has something to do with training programs run in the app itself.

These training sessions vary between an eight-minute focus boost to a 12-minute training program for recovery. The focus at the moment is on athletes and competitive sports people and is pushed as another tool to increase personal performance, just like buying a new set of running shoes or a new piece of equipment made especially for you. It’s not the first wearable to use an EEG and brainwave activity, as products like the Muse headband and Kokoon’s headphones have come before it, along with oddments like the NeuroLeet headband for gamers.

Alphabeats

Alphabeats itself has been around for a while, and early on focused on using the app to boost how music can relax you. At the time, it used heart rate variability (HRV) and breathing rate to gauge effectiveness. This approach is similar to the Moonbird we tested recently.

Now, it has shifted to an EEG, Alphabeats works with BrainBit, which supplies the headband to work with the app. You can pre-order the Alphabeats headband and app for $499 now, but it’s only available in the U.S., and the offer ends May 19, when the price will increase. The app is available for iOS and for Android phones with Android 13 or later.

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