Neurotechnology firm Neurable has partnered with Master & Dynamic to create the MW75 Neuro, a noise-cancelling headphone with a built-in brain-computer interface, which will allow it to measure the wearer’s brain activity and thus help monitor focus or mental fatigue through the day. The headphone is based on Master & Dynamic’s flagship MW75 featuring 40 mm beryllium drivers and adaptive ANC.
The term brain-computer interface (BCI) typically conjures images of elaborate medical devices involving a nest of EEG leads and electrodes. However, Boston-based Neurable has a vision of BCI-enabled technology that integrates with devices we use every day to enhance how we interact with them. To that end, it has partnered with renowned audio company Master & Dynamic (M&D) to design the MW75 Neuro, a headphone with a built-in neural interface that can track the wearer’s brain waves, thus helping monitor and improve focus levels for maximum productivity.
The headphone is simply a version of M&D’s flagship wireless noise-cancelling model MW75. However, the ear pads are visibly different, forgoing the original lambskin leather in order to integrate dry fabric EEG sensors. These provide 12 EEG channels to capture signals from the brain, which are sent to the Neurable mobile app for processing.
Neurable’s mobile app interprets this neural data (which, it emphasises, is stored securely and never shared) and displays the wearer’s focus levels throughout the day, generating graphs, scores and identifying ‘focus streaks’. It claims that this can help “uncover what affects your focus and what time of day you focus best so you can plan your most productive day.” Additionally, the app prompts users to take ‘brain breaks’ after prolonged focussed activity, helping reduce burnout and boosting productivity.
As a headphone, the MW75 Neuro is clearly a premium one, crafted with anodized aluminium and tempered glass, and shipped with a felted hard case. M&D uses custom 40 mm beryllium coated drivers and eight microphones for noise reduction on calls and ANC. Speaking of which, there are three ANC modes – Adaptive, MAX and All Day – and two additional modes of ambient listening for improved outdoor awareness and voice assistant support. Battery life is 32 hours, but dips to 28 hours with ANC, and just 8 hours with both ANC and EEG enabled. Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX Adaptive and multipoint connectivity help with fast connectivity and seamless device switching.
As part of its broader vision, Neurable’s website talks about future devices that can detect and respond intuitively to the wearer’s mood, or even respond to specific mental commands. That makes it logical to envision a truly hands-free headphone that could, say, pause or skip tracks just by thinking, or automatically select a playlist that matches one’s mood. However, that level of functionality in brain-computer interfaces is clearly some way off.
For now, the MW75 Neuro seems to be just a very good wireless ANC headphone which also happens to detect brain signals for monitoring focus levels. While it doesn’t yet control anything with those signals, it also doesn’t sacrifice its premium design, build quality or audio performance in any way. At $649, it is firmly in the premium category, yet only $50 higher than the original M&D MW75. The MW75 Neuro is available in 4 colours and can be pre-ordered now from Neurable’s website, with shipping starting in Spring 2024.
Vishal Bhardwaj – Tech Writer – 99 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2023
I’ve always been interested in technology, but it was my passion for music-making and photography that led me to dive deep into audio and imaging technology and understand all the tools that had fascinated me. I hold degrees in electronics engineering and business management, and have worked as a software developer as well as in marketing. Apart from being an amateur musician and photographer, I enjoy reading books, being outdoors, cooking and lately, running.
Vishal Bhardwaj, 2023-12-22 (Update: 2023-12-22)