I purchased a Flowtime device to better understand this company's approach to creating consumer devices to help enter flow states. Flow, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity. This device, as advertised by the company, "FLOWTIME makes meditation intangible into tangible. Brainwave data, heart rate, breath coherence, attention, relaxation, etc." and "Learn meditation guided by leading teachers, a calmer, less stressed, and healthier life is within reach." It seems they are addressing two different markets in one device - the ability to measure bio and EEG information, and an app that can deliver guided meditation. So, not quite real-time neurofeedback like the Muse devices, but has potential to become a real-time neurofeedback device. The biologic/neurologic metrics the device captures are:
From these data, the app then calculates the following:
I decided to complete a very simple test to better understand the capabilities of the Flowtime device. I would record my brain states in three different ten minute sessions:
I separated each session by about 10 minutes to reset my brain state and then test again. The goal of this test is to understand the capabilities of the device and understand its potential in measuring brain states accurately.
Analysis of the data
I created a spreadsheet to compare some of the primary bio and neuro metrics across the three sessions. This uncovered one of the limitations of the Flowtime device - it doesn't make it easy to extract the raw data into a CSV format for analysis, I had to manually create the spreadsheet. It would be nice to be able to easily export the data for more detailed analysis.
Here is that sheet:
The first thing I noticed after creating this sheet is that there is very little difference between the times spent in the measured brainwave bands. It looks statistically insignificant. Other measurements show significant differences including:
There is a lot of potential with this device and these early tests show that the device is detecting differences in brain states based on the activity performed. The application is easy to use, albeit somewhat cluttered in the user experience with help articles. The application could become a more serious device for clinical research if it had more advanced export capabilities. It is hard to find detailed data on how the device works including sensitivity, sampling rate, and how the calculated metrics are calculated.
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.