New EEG Headset From Imec to Compete Existing Brain-Reading Products
A brand new wireless brain-reading eeg headset debuts this week at the Medical Design and Manufacturing conference and exhibition in Anaheim, California.
The Belgian Imec and Dutch Holst Centre say their device will enable continuous ambulatory monitoring, it could improve safety in the future (no more sleeping while driving a car) and also improve the joy of video games by adjusting the action and the environment to the player’s cognitive state (just like Emotiv EPOC). With future medical applications the headset might functioning as warning system for epileptic patients and even enabling typing text by thoughts to people with motoric disabilities to communicate.
The prototype headset doesn’t look worse than any other consumer brain-computer interface on the market, it has a unique futuristic shape. The flexible and magnetic dry electrodes could be practical in use, hopefully they don’t cause too much pain on the skin.
At the heart of the system is IMEC’s 8-channel ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) which consumes ultra-low-power (200µW only) and features high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of 120dB and low noise (input referred noise of 55nV/√Hz).
The electronics, including the integrated circuit, radio, and controller chips are integrated in a small wireless EEG system of 25 x 35 x 5 millimeters, that can easily be embedded in headsets, helmets or other accessories.
This wireless EEG system has been integrated in a prototype EEG headset. The prototype headset can be easily adapted to the head of the user by extending a plastic bridge near the back of the head and by moving the part that contains the electronics upwards or downwards. On top of that, a spring suspension, guaranteeing improved robustness, and a magnetized pivoting mechanism can be used for fine adaptation to the head. The magnetic connection of the electrodes allows quick and easy replacement making it a hygienic solution. Gel injection is still possible if required for certain applications. Today the system relies on commercial off-the-shelf Ag/AgCl electrodes, which may lead to certain level of discomfort. According to Imec, in a few years, research on dry electrodes will result in increased comfort and higher signal quality.
According to Imec’s is mentioned in press release, the industry can get access to this technology by joining the Human++ program as research partner or by licensing agreements for further product development.
Will it be a real competition to existing market leaders such as Emotiv and NeuroSky? Future will tell.