I don't normally do unboxing videos. But since this is an unusual product, I recorded it for fun. 

BrainCo Focus headset is a headband with two electrodes that detects brain EEG signals externally. It connects with a phone app via Wifi. 

Its primary audience is school kids, as the EEG intensity can indicate how focused students are during their studies. It can be used in good or bad intentions - we won't discuss them here. As an adult who knows exactly how to study and focus, I wanted to test if the sensor and app are functioning as expected. Because the algorithm runs on the backend, it could seem like a black box showing random results of one's brain activity. By getting data on my focus levels during different activities under my control, I can infer if the correlation between the activities and data makes sense.  So, this is both a product hack and a brain hack ;)

During the initial setup, the app asks a series of behavioral questions. I had to recall how I was like as a student. Then it gives you an evaluation of the focus type you have. I seem to have a balanced result. And it recommends a training. Everyday it gives a set of activities to do while wearing the headset before the student starts doing their homework, also wearing the headset. 

The UI design and training gamification are targeted to appeal to kids. 

I followed their instruction of the training exercises, like playing a short racing game or identifying animals in images, to get into the mood. Then instead of doing homework, I chose a daily task like playing the piano, painting, reading, emailing, etc. First, I found it did show very different yet reasonable outputs:

I was reading an article on retail luxury brands. It has some interesting and comprehensive data that got me thinking. That's when the red peaks are, indicating me concentrating. I'm mostly pretty calm reading. That blue dip of distraction was when it talks about using Blockchain for inventory tracking. I thought it was total BS. There are much better and straightforward ways to do inventory tracking. Using Blockchain would be an overkill and pretty much trying to jump onto the bandwagon of hypes and buzzwords...And wondering about this got me distracted from reading the article.

I already know that painting is the one thing in my life that can keep me up all night. The result is not surprising at all and I'm pretty happy to see that. My brain is really active when I'm painting as I think about the painting, how to create the effects I intend and looking for references when needed. My retirement plan is to complete all pages of my graphic novel and re-draw some of the concepts on my website.  

Piano is an insightful one. It's dynamic in sync with the phrases in the pieces. Typically, when I played fast, intense or technically more difficult phrases, the focus level raised. See my recording of different pieces in the video at the end. There's also correlation with the composer. I play mostly pieces from the classical,  romantic and impressionist genre. Would be very interesting if I have time to do further studies for this project to categorize my brain activities according to pieces from Beethoven, Mendelssoh, Chopin, Debussy, etc. 

Email was pretty calm as expected. 

This one is during my learning of a new piece on the harp. I thought that if I played slowly, my brain should be mostly calm. But because I was sight-reading a new piece, it seems to be pretty intense. 

Now, here's the video during my piano practices. My apologies that I played none of the pieces perfectly. I had a lot of wrong notes and my finger clarity was lacking as I don't practice piano enough after becoming an adult. But this is a realistic live recording of my practices. 

The most interesting part perhaps is starting around 5:03 where I recorded my brain activity playing Chopin Valse Op. 64-2 as well as listening to the...

Read more »