Less than a month ago, I came up with this new idea for my final project, a mask that shows your mind state – no lies, no hiding, pure honesty! Since then, I’ve been reading and searching about how I can get data from brain, and this week I finally tested the result of my last month’s study. I attached the EEG chip to my Fabduino, and got the serial data that showed my brainwaves from Arduino’s serial monitor. Cool, right?
Measuring brain activity with EEG:
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the measurement of neural activity through sensors (electrodes) placed against the scalp. These electrodes can measure the tiny electrical changes that occur when neurons fire. By amplifying these signals through a computer, we can observe the brain activity in real-time. This Video
is a great introduction to how EEG works.
I had two options for making my own EEG device, first was making EEG circuit, using the instructions and design from Open EEG
. Open EEG offers a wealth of hardware schematics, notes, and free software for building your own EEG system. It’s a great project, but the trouble is that the hardware costs add up quickly, and the risk of not getting it to work is a bit too high. The second option was to hack into EEG toys! Neurosky, the company that makes commercial EEG toys, headbands and … had built a nice EEG chip, called TGAM, and uses it in all of its products. According to its data sheet: “The TGAM is NeuroSky’s primary brainwave sensor ASIC module designed for mass market applications. The TGAM processes and outputs EEG frequency spectrums, EEG signal quality, raw EEG, and three NeuroSky eSense meters attention; meditation; and eye blinks. With simple dry electrodes, this module is excellent for use in toys, video games, and wellness devices”
Hacking the EEG toy:
Neurosky’s products cost in range of 100-200$, However, they had this toy which they stopped releasing, MindFlex, which originally costed around 80$. I managed to find a used one on Amazon for 25$, which was perfect. The next step was to hack into the toy’s chip to get the data out. These Guys
have done the same thing before, and made this great tutorial on how to do it.