Japan's Vie Style is looking to blend the worlds of music, technology, and neuroscience with the launch of its Vie Zone "cyber earphones" — designed to monitor the wearer's brain activity as a means of boosting focus.
"Vie Zone is an elegantly designed smart device that uses earphones to pick up brain activity (EEG) and heart rate (ECG)," claims Vie Style's Andrew Dunbar of his company's latest product. "It uses two soft rubber ear-tip sensors that can fit into your ear comfortably along with two neck sensors."
"We all know music can affect your mood, feelings and mental state. At Vie Zone we embrace that in a positive way. We combine neuroscience with the power of music to tune your brain and improve focus."
Coupled with an "AI-powered music player" installed on the wearer's phone, the Vie Zone headphones are claimed to analyze brain activity in order to improve focus — helping the wearer get into a state of flow. When the wearer's "brain fatigue level" hits a certain level, the headphones can switch into a calming mode to "provide music meditation to recover your brain quickly."
"Neurofeedback is a type of brain enhancement training used by top athletes and executives to improve mental performance," Dunbar claims. "It can tune your brain just by watching videos or listening to audio. This method has been medically proven and is widely used for mental performance training of athletes, executives, military forces as well as being used in mental clinics as a cure of mental diseases like ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression."
The Vie Zone headphones aren't the company's first crowdfunding project, though they are by some way its most ambitious. The company had previously launched a range of headphone projects, and while each largely delivered on the its promises many backers complained that they never received their devices — and some that did have warned of discomfort, poor sound quality, incompatibility, and hardware failures.
The company isn't alone this time, though: It has partnered with the University of Tokyo, KDDI, and NTT Data on its latest launch, basing the design of the Vie Zone on in-ear EEG monitors used in a University study, developing the EEG signal reconstruction system in partnership with NTT Data, and developing the music player with KDDI.
Vie Style is currently crowdfunding its latest headphones on Kickstarter, with physical rewards starting at $299 for early bird backers — a discount off a planned $399 retail price. Rewards are expected to ship in December this year.