Dubbed the “Fitbit For The Brain” by its Montreal-based founders Jacob Flood and David Doyon, the Enophones were a promising crowdfunded wearable EEG headphones and I was rather disappointed when I heard the startup ran out of funding in the fall of 2022.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the Enophones story. In the summer of 2023, this product was brought back to life when Moonshot.la scooped up the remaining assets and technology after the bankruptcy filing.
That’s means we finally have a well-funded mental fitness startup that is making wearable EEG headphones that can help knowledge workers get more focused and access more flow in their work.
How The EEG Brainwave Tracking Works
The Enophones headset has four skin sensors that act like an electroencephalograph (EEG) by recording the brain’s electrical activity (the EEG sensor locations are A1, C3, C4, A2 for those interested in neurofeedback).
The pins at the top of the headphones are the main EEG sensors, which measures the electrical activity from the upper cortical layer of frontal parietal lobe of your brain which is a region involved in sustained attention and focus.
Using the data from these sensors, Enophones can measure how focused you are from your brain waves. Just as a fitness band will use heart rate sensors to track your activity levels, Enophones can use the EEG sensors to track your focus level.
The EEG sensors with the pins are round and smooth and are placed on the middle of scalp and I found them to be comfortable enough to wear the headphones all day.
The sensors retract into the band as you wear it making it so they only lightly touch your scalp and the makers of Enophones claim the weight of the sensors is less than half of the weight of the average watch.
The Overall Design, Build And Sound Quality
The general design and build quality is excellent with large headphones cups that fit comfortably over the ear.
The active noise cancelling (ANC) works great and the sound quality is excellent. You can switch between three modes: noise cancellation on, talk thru and noise cancellation off. The sound technology is powered by Onkyo, a Japanese company renowned for premium sound.
I don’t even notice the sensors on each ear and the pin sensors on the top of the head I only notice slightly (they can also easily be removed and used as regular headphones). However, it can take some fiddling to get the top sensors to properly track your brain waves, which is pretty common with consumer EEG neurofeedback devices.
When you turn on the headphones, you hear – power on, battery status, and connected (if the Bluetooth is connected).
I found the battery to be excellent, with around 8-10 hours of continuous playback, which was more than enough to cover the whole work day for me.
Using The Enophone App For Tracking Your Brain Waves
I was a little disappointed when I heard the original desktop productivity app has been discontinued.
The new app is currently only available for iPhone and an Android app is scheduled to be release in early 2024.
The app has a nice integration of brainwave entrainment music to access states of focus, flow, calm and sleep. Here’s a breakdown of their 7 different session types work based on brain waves:
You can download the full PDF explaining the EEG technology behind Enophones.
I generally like the music they’ve chosen in the app but it loops at short intervals so I find that it gets repetitive and each mode only has one music track so I prefer to use the “Tracking Only” mode as I listen to my playlists on Spotify or my own brainwave entrainment tracks.
I would like to see more options for music and the ability to turn on different brainwave entrainment frequencies on command and customize it to individual frequencies for experimentation.
For example, here are some of my favourite brainwave entrainment frequencies that I use regularly:
Gamma (40 Hz) – I use this when I’m feeling sluggish and having difficulty focusing. It switches my brain into high gear and helps me get into flow on my off-days.
Beta (13 Hz) – I use this slow beta frequency along the borderline with alpha when I want to have sustain relaxed concentration for long periods of time.
Alpha (10 Hz) – I use this alpha frequency when I want to get into creative flow doing activities like writing, graphic editing and video editing.
Theta (7.83 Hz) – I use this theta frequency when I do afternoon non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) sessions because it makes it easy to get into a state of effortless dreaming.
What I’ve found helpful is listening to my binaural beats and isochronic tones tracks in these frequencies and then using Enophone to track my brain waves during the sessions with the app.
After a session is completed, the app provides reports that are broken down into 3 areas:
1. Score: Here they give you a score based on how focused you were during the session in comparison to your previous sessions.
2. Ratio: After 4 hours of tracking your brain waves, they set a baseline and from this they establish a ratio of how engaged you are during your session.
3. Contributors: Here you have a breakdown of all 5 of your brain waves showing your dominant brainwave and how each brainwave changed during your session.
The new iPhone app has only been out for a couple of months so there is still a lot of work to be done to fully take advantage of the potential of this EEG technology. I hope they add Spotify integration and a better way to track focus and productivity on a timeline.
Conclusion: Should You Buy Enophone?
They feel and sound like premium ANC noise cancelling headphones and the additional EEG brainwave tracking is something that no other brand has released yet so they are the product leaders in this emerging neurotech productivity field.
I use these headphones regularly and I love them. If you’re an early adopter of new technologies and a quantified self geek like me you’ll definitely enjoy having them to see how your brain waves change over the course of your workday.
I’m excited to see what the new developers add to these headphones. There is huge amount of potential here as a mental fitness tracker that can improve focus and productivity at work.
Price: $399 on their website (Get 20% off with discount code 20OFFENO2024)