standard The Rise of EEG Headsets

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Source: emotiv.com

Can technology be used to read minds, or force the brain to react differently – given specific parameters? Whilst this seems implausible, some are suggesting EEG technology could provide the answer.

The scientific community has been using electrophysiological (EEG) for quite some time now. EEG technology uses electrodes, placed on a patient’s scalp, to monitor brain wave activity. The technology has proven to be a very useful tool in analysing brain function and has helped physicians diagnose patients with epilepsy for years.

As technology has advanced, scientists have been able to incorporate EEG technology into portable headsets, which could be applied to people in all kinds of professional and psychological situations, to observe how their brain functions. Whilst this is an exciting step, what benefits could using EEG headsets bring to science and in turn, to the general public?

 

2Source: partypoker.com


Your Brain on Poker
Online card room PartyPoker used EEG technology in a recent experiment to look at how the brain reacts during different stages and situations that arise in a game of poker. Three control groups of participants were used – beginners, amateurs and experienced professionals.

Among other things, the brain maps revealed that the professionals were much better at controlling their emotions and decisions in high-pressured situations. Poker is one of the more mentally straining sports you can play and EEG technology enabled a fantastic insight into the different thought processes players experience during a game of poker.

This study highlights the importance of EEG technology as a tool for teaching and understanding human behaviour. However, the benefits of EEG technology aren’t simply bound to educational and experimental circumstances. How could the technology be used to benefit people’s lives and is it really capable of reading someone’s thoughts?

DJ Fresh & Mindtunes
Three former DJ’s, all suffering with differing debilitating conditions, were asked to take part in a creative study by Smirnoff, where they would collaborate with DJ Fresh and create a track using only the power of their minds – assisted by EEG technology.

EMBED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyF4ZxGhPHw

The project, entitled Mindtunes, was billed as a way of creating music simply through brain waves and creative thoughts. However, what the video above actually shows is that the technology can help the disabled access technical equipment using just the power of their brains, the control of their emotions and certain facial expressions. Whilst spontaneous creative thought wasn’t responsible for any of the music created, it’s still very encouraging to see that disability doesn’t have to limit creativity or the use of certain technical programs.

The Science of Sound with Tinie Tempah
Earlier this year, The Guardian staged an experiment where scientists specialising in EEG technology collaborated with popular chart musician, Tinie Tempah.

The EEG technology measured the responses in certain areas of Tinie’s brain, as he listened to different types of songs – recording his levels of arousal to determine which aspects of each individual song he liked best.

Tinie seemed to think this technology would enable him to find a “musical enjoyment algorithm”. A formula musicians could follow if they wanted their music to speak loudest to certain listening demographics, or more widely, the general public on mass. However, as the scientific directors of the study explained, everyone is different. You can’t use science to manufacture a song that will speak to everyone, as we all react differently to any given situation.

When Tinie Tempah asked whether creating such an enjoyment formula was possible, the scientists running the experiment shot him down very quickly. Instead, they hoped the EEG technology could be used to help people who suffer from Neurological conditions. Music can be a very powerful brain stimulant and if it could be used in a way to target certain areas of a patient’s brain – areas which hadn’t been used properly in a long time, or had started to diminish due to their condition – then the technology could be used as a form of therapy.
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Alzheimer’s Music Connect
In 2013, Dr. Lorraine Avino, in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Music Connect and Life Music Inc., conducted a study which looked at ways music could be used to help patients suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Avino used EEG technology to measure the patient’s brain response, both to natural music and music which had been enhanced using Altus Oscillation – a program created by Life Music Inc. which modified music, tailoring sound to specifically target certain areas of the brain.

Dr. Avino wrote a letter to Ron Gregory, CEO of Life Music Inc., detailing the findings of her study.

It is my professional opinion that the results of the EEG’s are extremely promising in your quest to determine if patients experience increased brain activity while listening to your enhanced music.”

She goes on to recall that some, or all of the patients tested in the control group experienced amplified brain activity, increased brain symmetry, greater alertness, experienced feelings of calmness, satisfaction or even burst out into song themselves, when exposed to the music enhanced by Altus Oscillation.

I can say in my professional medical opinion that the results of this study demonstrated increased temporary positive effects on mid-stage Alzheimer’s patients”

Advanced brain function is what sets humanity apart from other creatures on an intellectual level, so any technology that can be used to study the brain and help us keep it healthy – especially one that comes in a convenient, portable form of a headset – is going to be fantastically beneficial.

No-one in the scientific community has suggested EEG technology could be used to cure neurological disease – nor could it actually read our mind or create music out of pure thought and spontaneity – but there is no doubting it can be used to find short term, temporary solutions. Both as a means for the disabled to control electronic programs through mere brain waves, but also as a form of brain therapy for those who are in need of it most.

About the Author

Ali is a dental school graduate currently living in Amman, Jordan; born and raised in the US, a tech lover with a serious addiction to all things sweet. He is the co-founder of GeekOnGadgets, and a senior editor at our Sister site MyNokiaBlog.com.

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