Monthly Archives: October 2014

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In today’s busy world it takes a while to transition from a hectic work day to a relaxing evening at home, leaving us tired and stressed. Thankfully, there are several new technological devices being developed in order to facilitate this transition and even ease mental health. These devices use a combination of neuroscience with consumer wearables and algorithms. Read on to find out what these devices can do and how they work.

First Hand Account

Samantha Murphy Kelly, Senior Tech Correspondent for Mashable.com, gives a detailed description of what it feels like to wear one of these latest devices (the Muse in particular). “I’m staring at a beach and listening for seagulls in the distance. When a voice asks me to concentrate on my breathing, requesting I count in sequences of ten, I follow the command and my body starts to loosen.” As she is distracted by the sound of the ocean waves, she accidentally skips a number and becomes flustered. In response to her elevated stress, the wind starts to pick up, and she is instructed that only her brain waves can bring the cadence of the environment to normalcy again. Eventually, the wind resumes to a calm blow as she regains control of her emotions.

This surrounding sounds like an ideal vacation. Despite how real it feels, Samantha is still in her newsroom office, sitting at her desk. She is sporting what looks like Google Glass for the forehead and some headphones. The Muse is a$300 dollar brain-sensor headband from the Indiegogo Campaign. It runs you through a series of relaxing and de-stressing exercises that mellow your mood in minutes, yet giving you the effects of a 30 minute yoga meditation session.

Varying from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, Samantha says that she has become noticeably relaxed each time, yet she has not yet reached full zen. She uses her iOS device and monitors her progress with the Muse App. She is supposed to build her calmness and hear more birds in the activity. The app tells her that her brain has only picked up on minor chirps. This means she was able to focus on breathing and block out background noise of waves and wind. There are still minor details that she will hear with more exercise with Muse.

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Wearable Technology

The Muse headband is just one of several new emerging devices that are combining relaxation with wearable technology to make the wearer more aware of his or her overall being. There have been many developments of devices that improve your physicals self, such as the tennis racket that helps with your swing or fitness tracking devices like the yoga mat that helps you improve your poses or the wristwatch that helps with running marathons. These all help with physical productivity. The new trend now has a greater emphasis on the mental side. These new devices help monitor and control brain activity and thought processes to alleviate stress and promote smoother relaxation transition from the hustle and bustle of the workplace to home.

What You Need

The best feature of the Muse is its portability. All you need is the headband, a mobile phone or tablet and some time. You can do this at home on the couch, on a plane or bus or even at the office. It becomes a game to relax. If your mind wanders, Muse will help you focus.

How It Works

“The headband measures the electrical signals from your brain with the help of seven sensors — three in the center that establish a basis of brain activity, two behind the ears and two others off to the sides, all of which collect and translate data into feedback you can understand”. Samantha says the only tricky part is to get the sensors to line up properly on parts of the forehead. After the alignment, the mental workout, or rather the journey to zen, begins.

Other Sensory Devices

Other devices that help unwind that have been discussed lately include the Thync, which uses sensors to detect your brain’s activity and helps users become more energized, focused or relaxed, depending on your preference. It is praised for mimicking the effects of a caffeine boost or supplements, without the need to take anything.

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Mental Focus and Life De-cluttering

Muse and Thync are not the only anti-stress devices. Other brain-sensor headpieces are the Emotiv and Brainbot that can generate feedback from your brain activity. Technological wearables have been popular lately in the field of productivity, such as the smart-watches that track movement or send you emails, yet the time has finally come for a space to de-clutter the mind. The new trend of calming tools will be beneficial to mental focus and relaxation.

 

 

business-cardWhat other way to get yourself out there then with a business card? Everyone should have a business card, whether you are a business owner, a nonprofit or are in search of a new job, you need to leave people with your contact details and information to reach you. Many people, however, leave big mistakes on their business cards. Read along to make sure you do not make the same mistakes. Pull out your business card if you already have one, lay it out in front of you and have a pen out to identify the mistakes you probably are making.

 

Here are common business card mistakes people make repeatedly:

 

1) Small font size – Some people have 20/20 vision. But if perfect vision is what you need to read the letters and contact information on your business card you are going to run into problems. Many people do not have perfect vision. Before you printo your new cards or if you are assessing the legibility of your current ones, walk around with them and ask a variety of people one simple question: “Can you tell me what this says?” It is a very basic principle to use a decent sized and clear font that is easy to read.

 

2) Light font color – Not only is font size important, but colour plys a role too. It’s also about contrast. If your card uses a font that is too light or bright (grey or yellow for example) or one that is too close to the color of your card backround, it will be difficult to read it.  And if people can’t read it with ease, they might end up sending an email to the wrong address or calling the wrong phone number.  Or they might simply give up and toss the card.

 

3) Glossy paper – It is very common for people to make your card more memorable by jotting down some notes or extra information on it before they leave you. If your card has a gloss finish or varnish on top, it is hard to write anything additional on it. Your card may get dirty faster without it but people might get greater use our of it if they can write on it.

 

4) Poor quality paper – If you have a business that charges in the five figures for your service, why would you “cheap out” on your business card? The quality of the paper you use to print your business cards on is usually the first indicator of your quality of service. Your brand matters to people and they get an impression of your business as early as when they see your business card. Would you pay a thousand dollars to someone who has a paper-thin business card?

 

5) Design inconsistent with web presence – There is a great benefit in having a business card design that integrates with a certain look and feel associated with your brand. If you have a website, a social media page, a store front or a product line, your business card will be much more powerful if it looks consistent. You want to drive as many people as you can to your busiess and site. Make it recognisable by integrating your marketing materials and staying consistent with your brand image.

 

6) No links to social media sites – If you use Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform to attract people to your brand, you should include links on your business card. You can encourage more fans and followers by letting them know where to find you.

 

7) No web address or bad email – If you only include a phone number and no email, you are limitting your client’s options of contacting you. What if thy aren’t ready to talk live? If you do not have a website, use your LinkedIn account. A gmail address might lower your credibility as well. These days it is so easy to get an email address with your own custom url.

 

8) Oversharing information – Some cards are socrammed with information that people do not know where to look or even start. A business card must be a straightforward means of communicating your contact information and it’s a place to draw people in and guide them as to how they can learn more about your service.

 

9) No brand promise– Every business needs a clear and compelling brand promise or tagline.  They tell your story in literally a few words and let people know why you matter.  Without a brand promise, your card is just a boring contact card.

 sample-business-card

10) Does not use the back – It is always nice to use white space such as room around your contact information to make it clear and easy to read. Consider using the back of your card for you r brand promise. You can hand it out with that side up while you speak the tagline.

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