American society Neurable developed a pair of headphones called Enten. They are able to "read" the brain and perceive our different mental states, modifying its parameters accordingly.
The headphones are equipped with sensors for each ear, which can detect electrical signals in the brain and send data via bluetooth to a smartphone app. If they perceive that the user is "distracted", for example, they can turn up the volume to catch our attention.
Conversely, if distractions are perceived as the result of poor concentration, they can disable smartphone notifications to reduce sources of disturbance.
A mental assistant for the distracted
Enten is a product that can be considered the evolution of its "competitor" which I talked about some time ago: unlike Crown (this is its name), which also intervened to “awaken” the distracted, Neurable headphones are a real brain-computer interface totally oriented to daily practical use.
The degree of interaction is quite high.
Users are notified when they need a break, and at what times of the day they seem to be most productive. Enten's technology can create music playlists of songs that produce exactly the vibrations the user's brain needs at that moment.
Doctor Ramses Alcaide, the founder of Neurable, says his research shows people have only two or three hours of high productivity in their day. On her blog she wrote: "Enten lets you know how and when this happens, so you can maximize your time without over-straining your brain."
Reading the brain
Most people tend to have the same cues for certain activities, such as concentration. This means that the path of when one is distracted can be cataloged and identified.
The launch of Enten is an important first step in changing the way we connect to devices in our lives. The purpose of technology is ultimately to solve society's greatest challenges. In the years to come, neuroscience will allow us to interact with the devices of our lives in new ways, freeing ourselves from constraints and enabling technology to solve problems that are important to individuals and society at large.
The headphones are currently in a prototype stage and are expected to go on sale next year.
The usual doubts: help for those who are distracted, or the "theft" of mental data?
Andrew Jackson, a professor of neural interfaces at Newcastle University, warned that people need to be aware of potential privacy concerns as this technology develops. His main concern is simple: will companies that make a living from advertising use brain data to find out which products we are interested in?