Nokia N900 can now perform real-time brain scans right in the comfort of your home. For the first time, a scanner powered by a smartphone will let you monitor your neural signals on the go.
By hooking up a commercially available wireless 14-channel EEG headset to a Nokia N900 smartphone, Jakob Eg Larsen and colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby have created a completely portable system dubbed “Smartphone Brain Scanner.”
Arkadiusz Stopczynski, Carsten Stahlhut, Michael Kai Petersen, Larsen and Lars Kai Hansen developed the scanner, which they promote with clever tagline: “Holding your brain in the palm of your hand”.
“The smartphone provides a touch-based interface with real-time brain state decoding and 3D reconstruction”, he explains. “Our system provides a fully portable EEG based real-time functional brain scanner including stimulus delivery, data acquisition, logging, brain state decoding and 3D activity visualization. The software is realized in Qt”.
“The headset transmits the EEG data to a receiver module connected to a Nokia N900 phone”, Larsen continues. “The binary data is decrypted directly on the phone, filtered and passed to the source reconstruction module that outputs the colors of model vertices for the visualization”.
Wearing the headset and booting up an accompanying app designed by the researchers creates a simplified 3D model of the brain that lights up as brainwaves are detected, and can be rotated by swiping the screen. The app can also connect to a remote server for more intensive number-crunching, and then display the results on the cellphone.
“Traditionally, in order to do these kind of EEG measurements you have big lab set-ups that are really expensive,” says Larsen. “You have to bring people in, isolate them and give them specific tasks.” The smartphone EEG would let researchers study people’s brain signals in more natural environments such as at home or in the workplace. Teams can also use the smartphone’s other features to conduct experiments such as displaying pictures or videos that elicit a specific brain response, or monitoring groups of people as they work together on a task.
The system might also assist people with conditions such as epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and addiction by cutting down on the number of hospital visits they need to make, in the same way that home-based heart monitors do.
Watch the video demonstration below: