"The session has been paused due to a drop in signal quality"


#1

This is now happening during every session, with two Muse headbands and with two different phones (an old Nexus 5 and a new Nexus 6P, both running Android 6.0.1).

Anyone else seeing this problem?


#2

You have re-posted this question:
http://forum.choosemuse.com/forum/technical-support/8842-this-session-has-been-paused-due-to-the-drop-of-signal-quality

However, no one replied! :frowning:

But however, I found a solution! I used to wear the headband, where the central part of the headband is no more than 1 centimetre higher than my eyebrows. In this position, the plane of the headband almost parallel to the ground. And in this position, dropping signal quality can happen frequently, if the headband somewhat lost its tightness to firmly grip my head after monthly usage.

In the new wearing position, the plane of the headband form an angle with respect to the plane of the ground, so that the central part of the headband can be 2 centimetres higher than my eyebrows. In this position, even if the headband somewhat lost its tightness, the gravity can still pull the front part onto my forehead. Moreover, the ear parts can attach my ears better, since the headband is elongated.

Just a wearing tricks!


#3

Hi Platypus,

I’m seeing this with two different headbands. One of them hasn’t had much use.

I’ve tried re-positioning the headband. I’ve also tried making it tighter, making it looser…none of those things have helped.


#4

My suggestions:

  1. Lend your muse bands to different people to try. Because different people have different shapes of skull. If they also experience the same issues, then you can rule out the cause of skull’s shape.
  2. Try to connect the muse bands through Bluetooth from different operation system, other than Android 6.0.1.
  3. Try to use different phones, other than Nexus.

#5

Hello. Just wondering if your problem has been resolved?


#6

Just wondering if your problem has been resolved?

Hi SamSL,

No, it wasn’t. Between the crashes during sessions and the constant “session has been paused” errors, Muse became unusable. I gave up on it a few weeks ago.

It was really disappointing because it had become a part of my daily routine (I ended up with just over 2.5 million points).


#8

I’m sorry to hear this. I gave up using the Android version altogether. It became completely unusable for me too. The iPhone one is very stable (by comparison ) and has been consistently stable for months. They do keep fiddling with the app and introducing bugs. I had the (not so) bright idea of acquiring an old version from 2015apk.com. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but my email was hacked after installation.


#9

2.5 million! Wow, you’re so dedicated! If giving me an additional one more year of meditation, I don’t think that I will get more than 1.5 million points, let alone 2.5 million. (By the way, the average score for my session is below 47%).


#10

This is really interesting!

I have always worn my Muse more or less parallel to the ground, approx. 1 cm above the eyebrows.

When I tried instead to raise it to a position 2 cm above the eyebrows as you recommended above, suddenly my Calm score dropped dramatically and sessions became much more challenging.

I am now wondering whether this may reveal something about the activity in my orbitofrontal cortex (lower frontal lobe) [which seems to be the area I have worn my Muse over before] versus my dorsolateral frontal cortex (upper frontal lobe) [which seems to be the area I am wearing my Muse over now].

Does anyone have any ideas about this?

By the way, I don’t have signal problems in either the lower or the higher position.


#11

I found a solution to the signal quality problem.

First, some additional info about this problem that might help others. I’ve been using Muse for two years, and during the first year and a half it was possible to avoid signal quality problems by wetting the headband’s forehead sensors with tap water before each session. But sometime around the beginning of 2016 I started experiencing a new signal quality problem where the left ear and right ear sensors would lose signal quality simultaneously. This problem was represented on screen in the horseshoe indicator, where the shapes for the left- and right-ear indicators would change from solid colors to outlines. If the loss of signal continued for about 14 seconds, the session would be paused and an error message would be displayed.

As I wrote earlier, I was seeing this problem with two Muse headbands and with two different Android phones (a Nexus 5 and a Nexus 6P). I thought this might be an Android problem but it’s not — I saw the same problem on an iPad Mini 4.

The solution was to buy a Muse 2016 headband (my other two headbands are the 2014 model). With the 2014 headbands I was seeing that ear signal quality problem in pretty much every session. With the 2016 headband I’ve done 18 sessions ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes and I’ve experienced signal quality errors twice. In both situations I was able to restore signal quality by re-wetting the headband sensors.

In addition to seeing fewer signal quality errors, session data with the 2016 headband is much less volatile.

The 2016 headband did introduce a new problem, but it’s something I can live with. While the 2016 headband had no problem pairing with either of my phones, the Calm app on the Nexus 5 can’t find the headband. I tried everything I could think of, and it’s just dead in the water. So now I only use the Nexus 6P.


#12

Here are some additional notes about the 2016 headband. All of the sessions I’ve done with this headband are with the most recent Android version of the Calm app (v. 3.0.103).

Out of 43 sessions ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, eight sessions have been paused by the simultaneous loss of signal quality in both ears (where the horseshoe changes the ear indicators from solid colors to outlines). I was able to continue all eight sessions by re-wetting the forehead sensors on the headband. This is a great improvement over the 2014 headbands with Calm versions 2.5 and 3.

There have been two app crashes, but neither crash occurred during a session. Since Calm 1.x, I’ve been completely removing the app from memory after each session by going to Android Settings > Apps > Muse and pressing the Force Quit button. I don’t know how effective this has been in reducing the number of crashes – it didn’t appear to be helping much with Calm 2.5 – but the two crashes I saw in Calm 3.0 both occurred when I re-launched the app after having forgotten to remove the app from memory after the previous session. I know, anecdotal…

Regarding volatility: Of the 43 sessions with the 2016 headband, 41 sessions scored 100% calm (the other two were 97% and 99%). This is about where I was in late 2015, before the ear signal quality problems became pervasive. There’s no way I could achieve those scores now with Calm 3.0 and either of my 2014 headbands.

Occasionally, the ear sensors will lose signal quality but will recover before the session is paused. This is not uncommon.

Three months ago, Interaxon retweeted a blog post from a Muse user (not me) in which the user included a screen shot of a session’s results. If you look at the line graph at around 9:00, you’ll see two horizontal lines:

That’s what happens when the app experiences simultaneous loss of ear signal quality – the session keeps going but the app doesn’t know what to record, so it keeps recording the most recent point from which it had good signal quality.

Something similar happens with the audio. Normally, the wind sounds are constantly changing but when the ear signal quality problem hits, the audio gets stuck at one level as if it were in an infinite loop. This is how I know the problem is happening during my sessions – I’ve become attuned to listening for that infinite audio loop.

Finally, I discovered that it’s possible to reproduce the ear signal quality problem by either tilting or twisting my head. For example, if I tilt my head all the way back as far as it can go, the horseshoe will change the ear sensors from solid colors to outlines after about two seconds. By twisting or tilting my head I can reproduce this problem 100% of the time with both of the 2014 headbands and with the 2016 headband. And to be clear, I’m not twisting or tilting my head during sessions – this is just something I stumbled upon and played around with.

I’m hoping one of the Interaxon lurkers (yeah, I see you there :slight_smile:) can take some/any of this information and come up with a fix for the problem.


#13

One more update along with some miscellaneous notes.

I exchanged the 2016 headband for a new one because I wanted to see if there would be any difference in the frequency of ear signal quality problems. There has been no difference. I’m still hoping someone from Interaxon will take a look at this.

In addition to wetting the headband sensors with tap water, I’ve also tried saline solution and conductive gel. Neither of those things resulted in an improvement over tap water, and the conductive gel gave some weird session results.

I clean the headband with rubbing alcohol after every session. I don’t know if it’s necessary to clean it that often, but I’m guessing it doesn’t hurt.

Once in a while the app will not see the headband, and the solution has been to force quit and restart the app. When force quitting hasn’t worked, rebooting the OS has solved the problem.

If you stop meditating, will you regress? In my case, the answer appears to be yes. I stopped using Muse and Calm 2.5 in April (2016) because the app crashes and ear signal problems had gotten out of hand, and I didn’t pick it up again until Calm 3.0 was released in June, seven weeks later. Some of the initial session scores in June were lower than any I’d seen since 2014, and it took 16 days to get back to consistent scores in the upper nineties. Shortly after that, I bought a 2016 headband and things went back to normal.

I’m up to 3.2 million points. Go me.