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Neurofeedback startup Axio shacks up with IDEO

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 12, 2012 07:56 AM

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axioheadband.jpg

One of the cooler startups in Cambridge right now is Axio, which is developing a headband that could improve your ability to focus on work, studying, or an athletic endeavor.

I wrote about the company back in February, and since then, Axio has participated in two "accelerator" programs: Haxlr8r, which involved spending 15 weeks in Shenzhen, China, and Highland Capital Partners' Summer@Highland program for collegiate entrepreneurs, based in Kendall Square.

Now Axio will be the first "startup in residence" at the Central Square offices of IDEO, the renowned design firm.

"Axio is doing really cool stuff with sensors, and playing across the hardware and software boundary," says Colin Raney, IDEO's location director in Cambridge. "We think there's a great opportunity to learn from each other."

kirsneraxio.pngAxio's headband uses three sensors that touch the wearer's forehead to measure brain activity, and transmit the data via Bluetooth to a PC or mobile device. Software on the device helps guide the wearer to a state of intense focus. Co-founder Arye Barnehama has said the company is aiming for a price of about $100. That's your fearless blogger in the photo at left, testing out a prototype of the headband earlier this week. I was looking at a photo on the screen that would appear fuzzy when I wasn't concentrating, and sharper when I was.

IDEO has worked on products like the Palm PDA, Apple's first mouse, Redbox video rental kiosks, and an Elmo iPhone app for Sesame Workshop. As for whether the firm will open its Cambridge office to other fledgling businesses in the future, Raney says, "We're definitely interested...but fit is critical. For us, this is about learning, finding inspiration, and playing in new spaces."

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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