March 21st 2011, Neurofocus, a San Francisco based neuromarketing firm released the first dry and wireless EEG cap. The cap was released at the Annual Advertising Research Foundation Convention Foundation in New York, New York.
The product has been in development for the past three years, and according to the NeuroFocus website it combines “medical-grade technology with mobility, leapfrogging current neurological testing methods.”
Dr. A. K. Pradeep, Chief Executive Officer of NeuroFocus stated that this new technology provides “new opportunities for our clients to gain critical knowledge and insights into how consumers perceive their brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising at the deep subconscious level in real time.”NeuroFocus envisions that this new user and researcher-friendly technology will broaden the variety of testing environments enabling researchers to take subjects out of the lab, and recording their brain waves in shopping malls, movie theaters or even outdoor venues. Additionally, this new wireless technology may help researchers gather cleaner and clearer data from subjects as the plethora of wires attached to various parts of the face and and head cap used in traditionally EEG labs can be distracting and constraining, as they don’t exactly foster a familiar or comfortable environment.
EEG has been favored by the market research industry for its good temporal resolution over technologies such as fMRI, which involve bulky and costly machines that may take up to ten seconds to reveal BOLD responses in the brain.
The Neurofocus website promises that brain waves can be read withing “seconds” of “slipping on” the cap. Those who have been on the subject or experimenter side of an EEG experiment are familiar with the time-consuming nature of preparing the subject for a trial and often less-than perfect fitting of the cap. In some cases the fitting and the gel administration take longer than the actual experiment. Terms like “seconds” and “slipping on” in reference to EEG are music to a researchers ears and apparently, Mynd eliminates the need for gel with the website crediting the “introduction of novel technological breakthroughs”. Although, as the technology was not developed for purely scientific purposes it may take a while for it to make its way into rightfully skeptical world of academic-centric research labs.
While the Mynd cap was primarily developed to lend insight to the market research industry perhaps it will have impact on the worldwide medical industry. Dr. Gerwin Schalk, Research Scientist and developer of BCI 2000, highlighted the technological contributions of the Mynd cap, “This wireless dry electrode headset substantially reduces the cost and expertise necessary to access signals from the brain, which has profound implications for clinical and commercial applications of EEG technology.” The European tools for brain-computer interaction consortium (TOBI) is apparently using Mynd to improve and build technology designed to enhance the lives of neurologically handicapped individuals with conditions such as spinal cord damage or stroke.
The Mynd cap will be available on a limited basis to Neurofocus’ labs and clients around the world.
Source and more information at NeuroFocus Website