CE Week in New York is often about finding the oddball bits of CES all from the comfort of your Manhattan midtown event space. Winning the Oddball Award for me this year was the PSiO AVS MP3 Color System, a wearable "audiovisual stimulation" device aimed at wellness.
It may look like some bizarre knockoff of Google Glass, but PSiO has more in common with home relaxation-therapy gadgets and meditation tapes. The plastic glasses have a variety of colored LED lights that strobe and shift across an opaque visor, while earbuds (or headphones) play back stereo sounds and voices geared at inducing energy levels. Yes, they resemble glasses that escaped a Sharper Image catalog from 1985, or a Skymall catalog from last month. PSiO will be available this holiday season for $399, but have been kicking around since last year at various demos, including CES.
My brief, odd time with PSiO AVS MP3 Color System involved a brief relaxation demo in a reclining chair. I tried a stress-relieving optimistic program, followed by a more energetic one. PSiO offers around a hundred downloadable programs aimed at aiding everything from creativity to sleeping, to weight loss, to quitting smoking. They felt like little minimeditation sessions, or the laser light show equivalent of self-help motivational tapes. I had to take off my glasses to wear them. With the strobing colors and intense sounds, it was also a bit like being in a sequel to Altered States. Epileptics need not (and should not) give these a try.
Kelsey Butler, manager of PSiO, told me in a brief conversation that she uses the device to aid in wellness, and claims that using PSiO has helped her stay off coffee and clears her mind of distractions and clutter.
Whether or not PSiO works for you is entirely unable to be determined, but surprisingly, I enjoyed my session: you could see it easily at home in the mall hallways of Vegas, as a $5-per-session novelty. Deeper dives than that? Well, I'll hopefully be spending more time with one later this year, so stay tuned.