Brain-Sensing Shades Could Help Relieve Your Stress

Soon enough, your sunglasses may not only shield you from harsh rays, but they could lower your stress levels and help you gain a more peaceful state of mind, thanks to a new partnership between a wearable tech firm and eyewear manufacturer.

Muse, a company that already makes a headband meant to help its users meditate, has announced a partnership with eyeglass company Safilo to embed brainwave sensing technology into the Smith Lowdown Focus sunglasses. The sensors are located at the bridge of the nose and behind the ears.

Credit: Muse

(Image credit: Muse)

The glasses, which will be available later this year for around $350, will be equipped with some of the EEG technology that you'd find at a hospital, plus an accelerometer and gyroscope to track activity, as well as UV, temperature and pressure sensors, turning a traditional-looking pair of glasses into a tech-packed wearable device.

Safilo also manufacturers frames for the likes of Givenchy, Dior and Kate Spade, so it may not be much longer until other brands and styles embed this kind of technology as well.

Muse already sells the $200 Muse headband, which, along with a companion iOS or Android app and a pair of headphones, can give you real-time feedback while you're meditating.

"We are living in a very distracted world, even environments like this ... we check our phones constantly, we're really not 'present' anymore," said Jackie Cooper, Muse Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at the CES 2017 tech trade show. "And just like when we exercise, like arm curls to build this muscle, we need to build a muscle of focused attention, and that's really what meditation is about."

Like its glasses, the Muse headband is equipped with five sensors that detect electrical activity in the head. While you're meditating, weather sounds will play through your headphones via the Muse mobile app. When you're in a more serene state, you'll hear calm weather sounds. If the device senses that your mind is wandering, you'll hear more severe weather sounds to remind you to return to a more clear, meditative state.

But Muse isn't just about meditation. It's equipped with electrodes similar to what you'd find attached to large machines at hospitals that monitor your brain wave patterns, and it's being used for research at 100 hospitals and research institutions, Copper said in an interview with Tom's Guide.

Althea Chang is Associate Director of Content Development for Consumer Reports and was previously a Senior Writer for Tom's Guide, covering mobile devices, health and fitness gadgets and car tech.