We at Medgadget have a fascination with the brain, and it shows in our reporting of various brain-computer interface technologies. Today another consumer-based electroencephalogram (EEG) offering, the Melon, is being launched on Kickstarter.
Melon bills itself as the lifestyle-inspired headband and syncs with a mobile phone to track your data over the course of the day. Only time will tell if it will be part of the yet-to-be-determined generation of mainstream EEG devices, or if it will go the route of the Zeo (R.I.P).
Check out the video below to get some initial impressions:
We had the opportunity to interview Melon’s co-founder, Arye Barnehama, about the device and the campaign. Here is what he had to say:
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: What problem did you set out to solve with the Melon?
Arye Barnehama: Melon was built for two reasons. One, to turn the invisible activity of the mind visible. And two, to allow people to understand themselves better. We saw how powerful brain imaging technology could be and wanted to give people the opportunity to learn how to focus better during their everyday activities.
Medgadget: How many electrodes are in the device and where are they located?
Barnehama: The Melon headband has three electrodes. Our primary electrode is on the forehead region known as FP1, where Melon can monitor brainwave activity from the prefrontal cortex. You’ve probably seen similar setups in the Zeo sleep headband, and the NeuroSky Mindwave (minus the ear clip).
Medgadget: Can you describe the algorithms you’re using and what insights they’re supposed to be able to give into one’s state of mind?
Barnehama: Melon turns the invisible activity of the mind visible. Specifically, our first application monitors focus. Focus is one of the most well-defined mental states within EEG technology and is frequently measured in research studies and during clinical neurofeedback. Other mental state algorithms will be available to developers who work with our SDK. Melon is making mental states visible so users can gain personalized understanding of their minds.
Medgadget: Will the Melon sync with the user’s smartphone and, if so, can you discuss how the data is transmitted and what the user interface will be?
Barnehama: Melon uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to sync with users’ smartphones, tablets, and all other connected devices. Our software application tracks users’ focus during the tasks they have entered and allows them to understand what helps them focus and how to focus better through real-time tips and historical insights.
Medgadget: What makes the Melon different from the other EEG offerings out there?
Barnehama: At Melon, the design of the headband makes it possible to wear during lots of different types of activities — from exercise, to athletics, to studying. Also, Melon is only offering one first application. The Melon app is not designed to give you more to do, but, instead, to enhance the things you already do everyday. Melon tracks your focus during your important tasks and allows you to understand what helps you focus and how to focus better. So, if you are doing yoga and you want to know when your focus peaks during your workout, or you’re doing homework and you want to know how to regain focus when you lose it, Melon will help you.
When we built Melon, we always had the goal of making it for everyone, a product that people could use in day-to-day life, at a price that reflects Melon’s goal to be a lifestyle-oriented brand ($79 early bird & $99 regular on Kickstarter).
At Melon, we are really interested in the idea of Understood Self, which we are trying to add to the movement of Quantified Self. We want people to have a great feedback system for the data we’re capturing, so it helps in the activities they already do day-to-day, goes beyond numbers and scores, and moves towards insights and understanding.
Medgadget: Do you have plans for opening up aggregated, anonymized user data for research purposes?
Barnehama: Melon will never share anyone’s data without their knowledge and consent. We are a consumer-oriented company and will make sure that our users are given the best experience possible and that they are given the utmost security and protection around their data.
Medgadget: What are your primary goals with the Kickstarter?
Barnehama: Kickstarter is proven to have an audience that is excited to support new products. We think they will be excited about Melon, and we are thrilled to be accepted to the platform. We are also excited to work with the developers on Kickstarter, who will have access to our SDK. A successful Kickstarter would fund our first large-scale production run and allow us to communicate with an amazing new user-base about how they are using Melon and how we can continue to provide them with the best possible experience.
Medgadget: Why is it called “Melon”?
Barnehama: Who doesn’t want to learn how to use their melon better? (people often use the word melon to refer to their head)