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Focus@Will builds music playlists to help you concentrate

Currently in beta, Focus@Will's music service looks to improve your concentration and focus as you read, study, and work.

Staying on task at International CES can be something of a challenge. There's the swirling mass of tech reporters, the company representatives vying for your attention, and the onslaught of gadgets, flashing lights, and noise. And all of this is set to the soundtrack of Las Vegas's ubiquitous slot machines, a choir of cacophonous beeping and blinking that will echo around your brain until you can think of nothing else but the clink, clink, clink of coins splashing around the...

I seem to have lost my train of thought.

Focus@Will is ready to come to the aid of the easily distracted masses. The company is in Las Vegas this week to show off its new music service aimed at helping people stay focused whenever they're studying, working, or reading.

Here's how Sariah Sizemore, a quality assurance engineer for Focus@Will, explained it to me: Most people are able to maintain their focus for 20, maybe 30 minutes, before their attention begins to wane. Focus@Will's service plays music that keeps your mind from wandering. At about 20 minutes, as your brain gets used to the music and starts to tune things out--a process Focus@Will calls "habituation"--adaptive audio techniques kick in to help maximize your concentration. The graph below illustrates that process.

The bottom line, Sizemore says, is that those 20 minute bursts of focus can extend out to 100 minutes with Focus@Will--at least, in most cases. (It's effective in two of every three people testing Focus@Will, she notes.) "The music helps sustain the flow of focus," Sizemore added.

The music itself is available in eight channels highlighting different styles, from recognizable genres like classic and jazz to more idiosyncratic choices like spa and uptempo electronic. Focus@Will encourages its users to choose a genre they're not necessarily familiar with: "It helps you stay more focused because you're not analyzing the music," Sizemore says.

Focus@Will is currently in a beta phase; users in the U.S. can sign up using Facebook, Google, or email. The service is free during beta testing, though Focus@Will says it will eventually offer a premium service. (No pricing details have been set yet.) The service is currently Web-based, supporting Chrome on Windows 7, Chrome and Internet Explorer on Windows 8, and all popular Mac browsers; mobile versions are in the works.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.


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