Ariel Garten knew from the start she wanted to make a product that makes people think.
The chief executive of the young Canadian company Interaxon, Garten sought to use brain-controlled interface technology — a science fiction-like development that allows a device to be controlled by the brain’s electrical activity — in a wearable device. With Google’s Glass and Nike’s FuelBand leading the way, so-called wearables are expected to grow from an $8 billion (in annual revenue) market today to a $20 billion one by 2017, according to Futuresource Consulting. Using brainwaves to control them seemed like, well, a no-brainer.
But Garten wanted to create something meaningful — something that people would use every day. Not a gadget or novelty. So she watched and waited for the market to develop. Muse, the company’s new $299 brainwave-controlled headband, will start shipping in May. With a splashy debut at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and what Garten reports as strong pre-orders from consumers and corporate employee assistance programs, the company’s wait to go into hardware appears to be paying off.