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Neurosky Expertise

The single sensor on FP1 provides a high degree of freedom; NeuroSky devices can measure multiple mental states simultaneously. The physics of brainwaves is virtually identical to the physics of sound waves where a single microphone can pick up the complexity of a concert.

All electrical devices, including computers, lightbulbs, wall sockets, etc., leak some level of ambient “noise”. This noise is often loud enough to obfuscate brainwaves. As a result, laboratory EEG devices will pick up random readings when both the reference electrode and the primary electrode are connected to an object that is not emitting brainwaves. Sensing mental activity through electrical noise is like trying to eavesdrop on a conversation at a loud ballgame - from outside the stadium. In the past, traditional EEG devices have circumvented this problem by measuring brainwaves in strictly controlled environments where no lights, devices, etc. interfere with the EEG signal. To increase the EEG brainwave signal, a thick medical gel is used for conductivity. As EEG devices migrate from the laboratory to homes, most people do not have rooms devoid of electronic interference, nor do they want to apply a conductive liquid to their head every time they use an EEG device. NeuroSky’s approaches to gel-free sensors and noisy environments mitigate these challenges.

Part of NeuroSky’s IP involves noise cancellation. Signal amplification makes the raw brainwave signal stronger. Filtering protocols eliminate known noise frequencies such as muscle, pulse and electrical devices. Notch filters eliminate electrical noise from the grid, which varies from 50Hz to 60Hz, depending on worldwide geography. Filter technology remains at the forefront of NeuroSky R&D, and future products will refine this imperfect capability.

Additional IP involves electrical engineering. Extrapolating EEG brainwave signals from noise requires both a reference point and an electrical circuit grounding. The grounding makes the body voltage the same as the headset. The reference is used to subtract the common ambient noise through a process known as common mode rejection. The earlobe is a location that experiences the same ambient noise as the NeuroSky forehead sensor but with minimal neural activity. Hence, it is crucial that the ear connection be securely fit.