Debuted at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, Smith’s Lowdown Focus frames are almost ready for action. Or, non action, actually. Utilizing their current Lowdown frame, Smith has partnered with Muse and integrated the sensors from their their sensory feedback headband into your sunglasses to help you monitor and train yourself in mindful meditation. What’s the purpose of this? According to a recent article in the NYTimes, a study at the University of Miami found that adding 12 minutes of “mindfulness meditation” to your training routine can actually help your brain recover from the stresses of physical training. Smith aims to help you ace your mind game as you train for whatever sports game you’re into.
The Lowdown Focus frames have sensors on the bridge of the nose and behind the ears. Sensors include: “EEG, EOG and EMG technology as well as other sensors, including a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyro, a 3-axis magnetometer, a UV sensor (UVA and UVB), a temperature gauge and a pressure sensor.” Basically, the sensors measure brainwave activity and provide feedback through the app to guide you in relaxation and focus.
As a side note, the behind the ear sensors seem to have difficulty with long hair, something Smith says they are working on correcting before release. I have long hair and this was temporarily corrected enough for me to test them by wearing a pair of headphones over the ears/sunglasses to push the arms up against my head so the sensors could get a good read. The app has a screen at the beginning that runs through all the sensors and lets you know if they are reading correctly.
The paired app collects the sensor data as you follow audio prompts to relax your mind. The neat part of this are the audio cues that let you know you’re actually doing it correctly (ever try to meditate and then end up on your “to-do” list? Me too.) Hear waves crashing and you are not focussed. Hear lapping waves and you’re getting somewhere. Hear birds chirping and you’ve reached your goal of “mindful meditation.” A chart shows you a graph of your progress. The photo below shows three zones, the top zone is when your mind is active, the middle for neutral, and the bottom zone shows when you’re in the target “focus” zone.
I was surprised to find that in my one minute trial I was eventually able to get to the bird chirping section (two times!). Wanting to see if the glasses really could “read my mind” I then tried to think of all the things that were currently causing me stress – and, wow, the waves started crashing in. Focus points allow you to monitor your progress each time you use it.
The whole point of these glasses is to have them readily available to you throughout the day when you feel like you need to fit in some meditation. Most people have their sunglasses and their phones with them, so you can run the program anytime with no need to carry another accessory. Chances are we know we should be meditating, so making a game of it with visual feedback is likely to encourage us to do it more. I know it would for me.
Glasses are water and sweat resistant, not waterproof, so don’t jump in the pool wearing them. Available October 2017, price will be $350.