Brainwise is a hat that reads the users brainwaves and projects their brain activity on top of their head. We call it a thinking cap.

The motivation for our project is the augmentation of human experience
through wearable physiological technology. We wish to bring something
private, namely our thoughts and emotions, and broadcast them to the
world. Future applications for this kind of technology can be in
self-monitoring of stress and other physiological signs, but also in
communication. Especially as much of our daily communication is moving
away from face-to-face contact, we need new ways of expressing and
transmitting our emotions to our peers.

This prototype has two capacitive custom-made EEG sensors for reading the
users brainwaves.  It includes also three RGB LEDs, which are connected to
light fibre to cover the top of the hat with colors. Arduino Lilypad is
used to analyze the EEG signal and drive the LEDs. Alpha brain wave
activity is analyzed, they are brain waves between 8 and 13 Hz. Alpha
activity is interpreted as relaxation. Alpha power is also considered to
be inversely related to active cognitive processing. Because of this we
use it as a measure of relaxation and activation, visualized on a scale
from blue to red.

According to some experiments, frontal EEG asymmetry is a sign of negative
emotion, or distress. We measure this by comparing the Alpha power from
the two sides and adding green to the visualization if there is a
difference between the sides.

We have some plans for a second version, so stay tuned!

This project was made by Metti Nordin and Valtteri Wikström for the
Wearable Electronics course at Aalto Media Factory in the fall of 2011.

Chips and Salsa



Some progress with the electrodes has been done! From left to right: base unit, electrode, ground electrode. Ali from Media Factory soldered the tiny SMD’s to the board (like a boss). We still need to attach the resistors and capacitors and some copper before we can test it out.

The PCB’s were designed in Eagle CAD according to [1].

[1] Y M Chi, P Ng, E Kang, J Kang, J Fang and G Cauwenberghs. Wireless Non-contact Cardiac and Neural Monitoring. Wireless Health 2010.

Ajatusmyssy – Thinking cap

Our plan is to make a hat that reads the wearers brain waves on a couple of electrodes and interpolates the signal to project the brain activity on LEDs on the hat. We would also like to add wireless communication and GPS to be able to publish our brain activity online and locate different thoughts to different parts of the city.

We will make our own capacitive EEG electrodes that don’t require direct skin contact, and will thus work through hair and fabric. The electrode is based on a circuit designed by researchers at UCSD.

The EEG data can be analyzed with FFT to recognize the spectral components. Choosing the alpha band (8-13Hz) and calculating its total power is a good indicator of brain activity, the total activity seems to be inversely related to alpha activity.

The hat will be covered with RGB LEDs and light fibre. We will use 4 electrodes, but by averaging we can make a “scalp map” with more LEDs. This is inspired by scalp maps used in brain research.