Muse S Meditation Headband Teardown

Welcome back for another teardown! This time I’m taking apart the Muse S meditation headband. This biofeedback wearable sends sensor data back to the app to help inform the audio experience during its meditation or sleep sessions (iOS/Android). Thanks to David Cranor for lending his EE expertise and to Lumafield for the 3D scan.

Tools used in this teardown:

You can get supplies for your own teardowns, as well as some of the chips in the Muse, at Digi-Key, my sponsor. Check out this project on their project site Maker.io.

As is my routine for teardowns, I reached out to the maker to ask for a sample device, and this time they said yes! Muse set up a discount code for my audience–use code BECKY at checkout for 10% off your own meditation headset.

If you’ve been following my work for some time now, you may remember I’ve also taken apart Muse’s first headset a few years ago. The Muse S isn’t the new version of that, it’s a different product designed to be softer for sleeping. Hence the S. There is also a Muse 2 that is made of harder materials and is a more direct iteration of the Muse 1.

My Muse S arrived in a bubble mailer, with very nicely designed, albeit a bit excessive, smooth paper and cardboard packaging. I’m sure some nice folks spent a long time making all this. It seems like it should all be recyclable, although there are some magnets comprising the box closures. I think you’re meant to keep one of the boxes anyway, to reduce the oxidation that can happen to this type of conductive fabric in the open air. I think it’s silver-plated, and silver tarnishes quite easily. Another clue is the anti-tarnish paper that’s included in the box with the band. Even without the logo, I recognize that stuff from my silver jewelry-selling days.

The main circuitry lives in a hard plastic enclosure that attaches to the band with magnets. The band has two hard plastic protrusions that house these magnets as well as the electrical contacts connected to the fabric sensors. There is a hole in the headband for the optical heart rate monitor, so it can see your skin. The device charges over USB and has a sleek LED display along one edge.

When you put it on, the app lets you know the signal reliability from all of the sensors before each meditation or sleep session. The trickiest ones for me were over the ears since I had to move my hair out of the way to make a good connection. Since I don’t find earbud-style headphones very comfortable, I was glad the soft headband is compatible with my big soft headphones.

The app has several biofeedback audio experiences to try, where the sounds are informed by your brainwaves. Here I’ve got my microphone inside my headphones, so you’re hearing what I’m hearing. Smokey tried it too, with the ambient music soundscape. Neither of us frequently meditate, and we both got pretty chaotic sounds while filming, but I was able to experience more range in the soundscapes when alone and not on camera, and it was super interesting to try this device out. I can say that I enjoyed some audio environments better than others, especially for trying to sleep.

Before I took apart my Muse S, I sent it off to be CT scanned by the folks at Lumafield. They graciously agreed to scan another teardown gadget for us, so we can see the insides in their intended state. The scan is public if you want to explore it yourself!

The plastic enclosure popped right open, without breaking, and the circuit is secured with just a few bits of tape and a single screw. The LED effect is achieved with some light pipes that sit up against a few side-emitting surface-mount LEDs.

I was able to remove the entire circuit assembly without breaking anything. It’s actually three separate circuit boards connected with flex PCB material.

Since the circuit came out so intact, I got to thinking I might be able to put this thing back together again, so I was careful in the way I opened up the headband. I used a seam ripper to remove the stitches from one edge and took a peek inside. There’s a flex PCB sandwiched in between layers of foam padding.

ComponentManufacturer and part number and/or markings
1150mAh Li-ion batteryGreat Power GSP061621
2Photodiode5010 VB37296
3Oximeter/heart rate sensorAnalog Devices/Maxim Integrated
MAX86140ENP+
(markings 8614 0ENP K 047)
4Battery charger ICAnalog Devices/Maxim Integrated
+MAX 77651B EWV
TAF K 108
5Unknown – USB controller?SH [QR CODE] 141
6UnknownK33
7Arm Cortex-M4 MCUST Micro L452RCI6 7BA6D 9R PHL 109
8UnknownST Micro K193 Y121
9UnknownST Micro K1G Y102
10Bluetooth modulePRD601 2013877 [QR code]
11Chip antenna
12Unknown28E 16 18J

Lumafield has added this scan of the Muse S to its public repository, so you can explore the device in 3D for yourself!

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Portable Soldering Station

Here’s how to make a portable soldering station with a USB iron and a battery pack. I’ve 3D printed some sides for a plain stand that turns it into a storage box for the soldering iron and solder.

The TS80P smart soldering iron is super tiny but packs a ton of features. It’s got a little OLED screen, adjustable temperature, customizable firmware, and comes apart to get even tinier.

You need to power it with USB-C, either with an AC adapter or a beefy backup battery.

I picked a full-size soldering iron stand for three reasons:

  1. I am super clumsy and therefore never liked the mini stands, which leave the iron exposed not only to my flailing arms but to other things on the desk. I prefer an enclosed design to prevent burning myself or the things around me.
  2. The full-size stand has a brass sponge for cleaning the tip, which I’ve been spoiled by at home and therefore can’t live without.
  3. The open space in the middle will fit all the things I need to carry in a portable kit.

Supplies:

You can get all these supplies, even the 3D printing filament, at Digi-Key, the sponsor of this project. They carry all kinds of soldering supplies, backup batteries, and other tools, and they ship super fast. Here are the specific items I used to build this project.

Check out this project on Maker.io.

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Custom Body Scan Jeans: Unspun Review and Interview with Cofounder Beth Esponette

This is a bit different than my normal build video, but I’m so interested in the environmental and sociological changes Unspun’s business model has the potential to bring about. Let me know what you think. You can get 20% off Unspun jeans with code BECKY https://unspun.io/

As part of the YouTube robodubbing beta, this video has a Spanish audio track. Check it out in the Settings menu of the YouTube player.

Today I’m taking look at an innovative denim company that’s using high-tech software to reduce waste and make completely custom-fit jeans. I got to speak to Unspun co-founder Beth Esponette and try out the body scanning phone app for myself.

Here’s the way it works. You pick out your style and fabric, then record a short video to scan your body using the Unspun app.

So it takes a few weeks to get the jeans in the mail. They arrive in a recyclable mailer with instructions to wear them in for a week before evaluating the fit, and unspun will remake them for free if they don’t feel perfect. This happened to me– I don’t know if it’s because I wore tight leggings or if I was sucking in my gut for the camera, or maybe because I gained weight while my jeans were in production, but the revised jeans, fit perfectly– Better than any denim I’ve ever owned. These revisions were made based on my feedback, not a new scan. But I did end up ordering another pair with a new scan just to compare the results.

The traditional supply chain requires large minimums. Many thousands of units of a product must be made for the price of each one to feel affordable. That means only products that are predicted to sell in those quantities are manufactured. In the video above, Unspun cofounder Beth Esponette explains how their business model turns the traditional supply chain on its head.

I am admittedly a tough customer when it comes to pants, or trousers as some of you call them. I’ve been wearing overalls and coveralls for the past few years, and I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s not just because they are workshoppy and cute. I’ve been avoiding waistbands because not only have I gained weight, so none of my pants fit me, but I was also diagnosed with PCOS, and I have occasional abdominal discomfort. But my unspun jeans fit great and are very comfortable. In addition to the waste-reduction benefits of this business model, there’s also a real improvement to the customer experience. No longer is your personal fit experience beholden to where your figure fits on a bell curve compared to everybody else, which serves the economics of the inventory model.

If you’d like to try out their tech and pick up a pair of unspuns, you can use my discount code on the screen now to get 20% off. I’m not earning affiliate income and this video is not sponsored by Unspun, but they did gift me the jeans.

Oura Ring Teardown (Gen 3 and Gen 2)

I’m taking a look inside the Oura ring, a fitness tracker that looks like a piece of jewelry.

Oura’s tech focuses heavily on sleep tracking, which makes sense to me since it’s way more comfortable than any wristband I’ve tried.

It’s so teeny, and waterproof, I’m super curious about what’s inside. I set out to take apart both a Gen 2 and a Gen 3 Oura ring, as well as one charging base. I anticipated having trouble getting to see the actual circuit board up close, so before cracking at them with cutting tools, I sent them off to be CT scanned at a company called Lumafield. Their Neptune machine makes it easy to see inside 3D objects and explore the different materials that make them up, in a smaller and easier to use form factor than traditional CT scanners.

Thanks to David Cranor for lending his electrical engineering expertise.

Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video! Check out this project on Maker.io.

Tools used in this teardown:

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Waxed Canvas Tool Roll

This tool roll is an easy and useful sewing project that can be whipped up in an afternoon.

Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video! Check out this project on maker.io.

Materials & Supplies

For this project, you will need:

To keep up with what I’m working on, follow me on YouTubeInstagramTwitterPinterest, and subscribe to my newsletter. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.

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Raspberry Pi Smart Magic Mirror

Here’s an easy smart mirror powered by Raspberry Pi. I’m using the MagicMirror2 software with features for weather, my calendar, public transit, and any other of the hundreds of available IoT modules. I installed an old computer monitor on an articulated mount with a piece of two-way mirror glass.

Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video! Check out this project on maker.io.

Materials and Supplies

For this project, you will need:

To keep up with what I’m working on, follow me on YouTubeInstagramTwitterPinterest, and subscribe to my newsletter. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.

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3D Enclosure and Felt Knobs for the Bitty

The Bitty is a pocket drum machine by Curious Sound Objects. I 3D printed an enclosure to help it sit flat on the table, and I encased the knobs in felt so they are soft and squishy.

Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video!

Supplies & Tools

For this project, in addition to a Bitty, you will need:

To keep up with what I’m working on, follow me on YouTubeInstagramTwitterPinterest, and subscribe to my newsletter. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.

I used Tinkercad to sketch out my idea, which is basically a box the same shape as the Bitty, with openings for the switches and knobs. It’s flat on the front to print with that side to the build plate. I punched out the Curious Sound Objects logo from the speaker area. You can grab the file on Tinkercad.

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Homemade Robots Book Review

This is a quick review of my friend Randy Sarafan’s book, Homemade Robots: 10 Simple Bots to Build with Stuff Around the House.

I built several of the bots from the book– I’m credited as the technical reviewer.

Randy’s bots all use modified servos wired and mounted in clever ways to produce unique movements from easy-to-find household materials.

After removing the control boards, servos become just geared DC motors, capable of producing a lot of torque for their size, and eliminating the need for a microcontroller or coding of any kind. You’ll learn the basics of soldering and how to make this simple modification to the motors yourself, then apply them in 10 fun bots.

I only used six motors total and took apart some bots to build others. Most of them use zip ties or nuts and bolts to hold everything together.

To keep up with what I’m working on, follow me on YouTubeInstagramTwitterPinterest, and subscribe to my newsletter. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.

Amazon Halo Band Teardown

Welcome back for another gadget teardown. This time we’re taking a look at the Amazon Halo Band, a fitness tracker that also provides tone of voice analysis. I teamed up with David Cranor and Vanessa Hill/Braincraft on this one! I also have txyz.info on Hackaday.io to thank for all the reverse engineering in their own, more thorough teardown.

Thanks to Digi-Key for sponsoring this video!

Here’s a list of tools we used:

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