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Have trouble staying focused? These brain-training earbuds might help

FocusBuds by Potential X

Focus is hard. In a world in which everything from the notifications on our phones to the hectic nature of our jobs seems tailor-made to stop us from giving our full attention to one task, it can be tough to block out distractions. That’s where an intriguing new earbuds technology comes into the picture.

Called FocusBuds, its makers claim that they are the world’s first pair of productivity-boosting earbuds. Moving way beyond the noise-canceling tech you may be familiar with, FocusBuds monitor users’ concentration levels using a process called electroencephalogram (EEG) neurofeedback. This is achieved by using embedded sensors capable of capturing this brain activity and proprietary software that analyzes it. The resulting data insights are then conveyed in real time to the user via audio cues. In doing so, the promise is that the earbuds will help train your brain to concentrate and block out distractions over time.

“EEG neurofeedback is not a new technology; the true innovation of FocusBuds is in taking this technology and integrating it with a pair of earbuds, making it both affordable and accessible to normal people,” Dr. Sahin Ozsoy, co-founder of manufacturer Potential X, told Digital Trends. “This has been made possible with rapid advances in signal-processing techniques and material science over the last decade. For example, our signal processing is done by our patent-pending software, which leverages advanced A.I. to learn the patterns in your brain activity using approximately 400 calculated metrics — significantly outperforming traditional techniques used in a clinical setting.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ozsoy said the project started because of his own difficulty in focusing when working in open offices or libraries. After reading Georgetown University professor Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, Ozsoy was stunned to discover that the average person reportedly takes 23 minutes to focus, but is interrupted roughly every 11 minutes. Over the course of a career, this adds up to some 20,000 hours of lost productivity. “This made me realize how big of a problem focusing is,” Ozsoy said. “I wanted to solve it using my background in EEG and signal processing.”

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the risks inherent in crowdfunding campaigns. That can include products which ship late, don’t ship as described, or sometimes don’t even ship at all. Nonetheless, if you’re aware of these risks and are still keen to get involved, head over to the project’s Indiegogo page for more information. Prices start at $269. Shipping is planned to take place in May 2020.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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