The $100 XWave headset plugs into the headphone jack of any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and claims to measure your Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Theta brainwaves. I have no way of proving or disproving these claims, though I can tell you that it certainly does something while you use it.
The headset features a metal sensor that touches your forehead while you wear it, along with a second metal sensor that you clip to your left earlobe. The entire getup is powered by a single AAA battery.
The XWave app consists of a visualizer, which shows your various brainwave patterns and measures your levels of attention and meditation.
There’s also a "Focus" function wherein you concentrate on levitating a glowing orb for at least 180 seconds. The harder you concentrate, the higher it floats. As you can see in the below image, it took me 15 seconds to get the orb up in the air and the average floating height was around 50% of the maximum. Apparently I’m half-attentive, which seems about right.
And finally, the "Nirvana" function taps into your meditative state by measuring how well you’re able to calm your mind. None of the functions explain how you’re supposed to focus or calm your mind in any sort of explicit manner so, again, I can’t really tell you how well this thing works overall.
The XWave Tunes app supposedly lets you "sync your brainwaves with any song in your library" and then search for people in your general vicinity who exhibit compatible brainwave patterns to yours. It’s apparently supposed to be like a social network for XWave headset users.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t even create an account to use the app. Both the XWave and XWave Tunes apps let you create a user account, but only the XWave app lets you use it without logging in first.
When I went to create accounts in both apps, a space for the iPhone’s keyboard popped up but the keyboard itself never did.
So while XWave’s own apps aren’t quite up to snuff, the company has a developer program so people can create their own apps for the headset. It’d be somewhat interesting to see what outside developers are able to cobble together but so far there are only two additional apps: Personal Om Meditation Timer for $2 and Tug of Mind, which isn’t even available yet.
Overall, the product is unique and sort of intriguing, although the $100 asking price is a bit high considering the lack of usable apps. I’d take a wait-and-see approach until there are more apps, a lower price tag, or both.
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