Spotlight on Kickstarter: The Melon tech project

Project Name: Melon: A Headband and Mobile App to Measure Your Focus

Category: Product Design

Goal: $100,000 (£64,000)

Currently Funded: $251,000 (£162,000)

Deadline for Pledging: 13 June 2013

Are you more productive at work when listening to music? If so, does it matter if it's country or classical, with headphones or through speakers? And how do those intermittent workday detours to Facebook disrupt (or improve) your concentration?

Imagine how much more efficient you could be throughout the day if you understood the environmental factors that affect your focus, and whether you'd do better to fight through a mental block or break for a coffee.

Melon, a sporty EEG (electroencephalography) headband and companion app, seeks to reveal the answers to these questions. Think of the combo as a Fitbit for your mind. Users put on the headband, which is equipped with sensors and input tags that specify their current activity, environment, behaviour, and more.

Using EEG and scientific algorithms, the device measures brain activity and displays the user's focus level on the app via a wavering white line. With each activity charted, Melon learns more about what helps and hurts your focus, and the app exposes trends that can help to optimise productivity.

"Melon is about taking invisible information, in this case from your brain, and turning it into something visible and helping change your behaviour based on that," says creator Arye Barnehama in the Kickstarter video. When focus wanes, the app can optionally suggest ways to improve concentration, such as taking a few deep breathes or taking a short walk, and then records how the suggestion consequently influenced the user's mental state. The creators encourage people to use Melon in all different settings — while working at the office, doing yoga, or even flying a plane — in an effort to gain insight into day-to-day activities and extend the Quantified Self movement beyond just the physical.

Melon quickly surpassed its $100,000 (£64,000) goal. For $99 plus $15 shipping (£73 in total) backers can get a Melon headband (in a choice of black or white) plus the app with an estimated delivery date of November.

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