Reams of scientific research has been published about the benefits of meditation—everything from improved cognitive ability to better cardiovascular health—but it can be difficult to find the time for regular sessions and to remain focused during those sessions with the constant distractions of everyday life. Smith Optics hopes to address these problems with the Lowdown Focus, the first sunglasses with built-in EEG sensors that measure brain activity in real time and provide feedback using the dedicated Smith Focus smart device app.
A compact version of the brainwave-scanning technology developed by Muse for its meditation headbands is housed within the frames of the Lowdown Focus, as is the low-energy Bluetooth wireless hardware needed to let the sunglasses interface with the app. When ready for a session, you pick a cognitive training exercise, lasting anywhere from three to 45 minutes, and a soundscape, anything from a traditional beach or rainforest to more abstract locales. As you concentrate on your breathing and relax, the soundscape changes based on sensor feedback from the glasses, gently providing auditory cues if the glasses sense that you have lost focus. When you are completely in the zone for an extended time, the quiet sound of birds chirping will begin to play, an audio cue that will (with some conditioning) trigger your mind to go into an even more deeply focused state.
Through the app, you can set up a session schedule to keep you reach your cognitive goals or download additional training packs dedicated to improving sleep, relaxation, performance, or focus. And if you need even more motivation, the app also incorporates gamification features, like experience points earned for hitting certain goals. Although Smith seems to be clearly targeting athletes with many of these training programs (to improve performance before workouts and aid in recovery afterward), the benefits extend to other areas in life as well, including better cognitive performance, improved ability to deal with stressors, and reduced anxiety.
The Smith Lowdown Focus is already available for purchase directly through the manufacturer’s website. Priced at $350, the glasses are available in two different styles—a standard unisex model (in gray or black) and a daintier model called Lowdown Focus Slim (in black or white). And just in case you were worried, no, the sunglasses can’t read your mind… Smith even went so far as to address the subject in its FAQ.