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EETE SEP 2015

Let consumers figure out a use case for EEG By Julien Happich That’s what you could think of Imec an Holst Centre’s recent launch of an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset which the research centres hope will seduce consumers. Once belonging to the realm of brain research within medicalized environments, electroencephalograms (brain electrical signals) can now be picked up wirelessly at the surface of the head (without surgically implanted electrodes). For a long time, the best wireless signal results had only been achieved through careful skin preparation (with a medical assistant or a nurse care and placing the electrodes manually after a special gel was applied). Lately, a number of companies have developed dry-electrode EEG headsets, hassle-free to put on, with the promise to control a number of electronic appliances and software only using brainwaves. Presented as a revolutionary Brain Computer Interface and starting at $399, the Emotiv EPOC with its 14 EEG channels is still mostly an instrument for scientific research. California-based Emotiv also markets a lighter and more fashionable version, the Insight. Though apart from mobility-impaired users who could certainly benefit from the remote and handless operations enabled by the device, it has yet to be seen if EEG could become a mainstream enabler tied to smartphone apps or games. So when imec, the Holst Centre and the Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) faculty of Delft University of Technology promote a consumer-grade wireless EEG headset that can be worn comfortably and yet achieves medical-grade EEG data acquisition at a very low cost, the technological feat is certainly there, but who will be first to lure consumers into wearing it? With dry polymer and flexible active electrodes, miniaturized and low-power data acquisition, with low-power wireless interfaces to smartphones, the EEG headset ticks a number of boxes as a wireless brain-computer interface, for some professional use cases maybe or in some far flung virtual reality environments. Consumer applications could include games that monitor relaxation, engagement and concentration, but the wireless headsets could also be used for attention training, sleep training and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), say the researchers. “The mobile app relates the user’s emotional state to environmental information such as agenda, location, proximity to others and time of day, in order to provide feedback about the unconscious effects of the environment on the user’s emotions, thus creating awareness and actionable new insights”, reads the statement from imec. But will EEG headsets become the necessary gadget for the millions of digitally-intoxicated and isolated smartphone users to check their emotions and mood, in the absence of real people to interact with? Will anyone truly benefit from such monitoring apps, adding another layer of digitalization to our self, or will this be another accelerator for digital burnouts? I guess EEG interfaces are an ongoing experiment, and only the future will tell if consumers are willing to embrace this technology and through which marketing tactics PUBLISHER André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 169819476 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net Peter Clarke +44 776 786 55 93 peter.clarke@eetimes.be Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Accounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2015 by European Busines Pres SA Chaussée de Louvain 533, 1380 Lasne, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. Company Number: 0461357437 RPM: Nivelles. Volume 17, Issue 8 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe © 2015 E.B.P. SA All rights reserved. P 304128 european business press 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE SEP 2015
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