Music is starting to listen to us, for a change.
The signs are popping up everywhere — and not just in music services that make great guesses about what a particular human wants to hear, but quite literally, with magic bracelets and heart-healthy music apps that alter musical programming or even the music itself based on what our bodies are doing.
Neurowear, which engineered those ridiculous cat ears that detect your brainwaves and react to your mood, takes that concept to the next level with Mico, as-yet-unreleased headphones that connect brainwaves to a music app in order to select a song that matches your state of mind.
After debuting at SXSW, these Mico headphones attracted plenty of attention. Of course they would. They are brainwave-sensing headphones that can select music, and that is nothing if not blog-worthy:
The Mico headphones are in the prototype phase, and Neurowear says its prototypes are not available for outside testing, so we're not even going to ask.
However, those silly cat ear things are real. You can buy them for $70. As such, it seems likely that Neurowear or someone else will figure out how to put brainwave sensors into headphones to help steer music selection. Why not? Cisco says the internet of things, which should include some new music controls, is worth $14.4 trillion.
Plenty of music apps can react to your jogging or other exercise patterns using an accelerometer. These aren't just from hackers and hobbyists; two of the world's biggest brands, Nike and Apple, partnered to work on this very concept years ago. As for the heartbeat thing, you can control the tempo of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe" using one hacker's invention, which is fun and all, but BioBeats has made a real business plan out of controlling music with heartbeats.
According to Biometrics Research Group (which, to be fair, sounds like it has a horse in this race), over 40 million wearable health and fitness sensors" will ship by 2015, with $100 million in sales, and if the past is any indication, plenty of those will hook up to music players and other apps.
If brainwaves are next — if, say, Beats Audio releases headphones with a brainwave detector — it shouldn't be too long until music fans can wire themselves into online listening rooms that they control, in part at least, with their brainwaves. Paging DJ Groupthink!
Would Turntable.fm-on-brainwaves react to the stock market? How about the weather? We hope to find out someday, and we have a feeling we will. After all, some of this stuff is already real, and $14.4 trillion is a lot of money to leave on the table.
Other Neurowear prototypes include:
- Brain Disco, which challenges DJs to keep an audience's attention, as measured by their brainwaves;
- Zen Tunes, which charts your emotions as you listen to music; and
- Neural Turntable, which plays music only if you concentrate on it — you know, the way people supposedly used to do with vinyl records. (It's like this weirdness but with concentrating instead of dancing).