The need to know more about the human mind has been a great driving force behind scientific progress and, now, brain monitoring is transitioning out of research laboratories and into the real world. Bioengineers and cognitive scientists from the University of California have created the first portable 64-channel brain monitoring system, which comes equipped with dry electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors and a complex piece of software that interprets and analyses the data.
Modern monitoring techniques were introduced in 1927 by Egas Moniz, a Portuguese professor of neurology in Lisbon who developed the cerebral angiography – a way to visualise accurately the blood vessels in the brain.
Monitoring procedures have become better and more refined in recent decades, with the introduction of techniques like computerised tomography and magnetic resonance imaging and, now, with the portable brain activity monitoring system.
How Does This Portable Brain Monitoring Work?
The elastic arms of the headset are suitable for a vast range of head shapes and sizes, and there are sensors at the end of each arm which collect brain signals without adding noise – the headset is built in a way that amplifies the quality of the brain signals without interference from other electronic instruments nearby.
The sensors placed on the scalp are created out of silver and carbon, so as to ensure great conductivity of brain signals, while the sensors resting on the user’s skin are made from hydrogel sheathed inside a membrane. The data is then collected in real time and analysed with great accuracy and speed.
How Will it Be Used in the Future?
Brain monitoring has traditionally been done through the use of wet EEG sensors, which made it impossible, or extremely difficult, to use outside of strict lab conditions. What this technology offers is the ability for brain activity to be monitored via the application of dry sensors, and the fact that it’s a portable machine means that it could be used for real-world applications anywhere. This new system will continue to provide high-density data without a decline in quality.
Because of this, it has a vast array of applications, from research to clinical diagnostics, and it can improve healthcare by developing new ways to treat brain injuries. The goal for future applications is for this system to allow for house calls or to study a subject who is working or driving. The machine might also be used to help develop brain-computer interfaces which will allow humans to control machines with their minds.
Scientists have already spent four years perfecting the headset, and the next steps will be to further increase its performance, especially to adapt it to moving subjects. While it can already capture signals from people who are walking, it still needs to improve its reception to when they are running.
So, the future of brain monitoring is a convenient portable solution which receives and analyses high volumes of brain activity data with great accuracy. Here at Edulab we’re always interested to see the progress happening in the scientific world, and that’s why we offer high quality lab equipment for all your experiments. Get in touch with us or give us a call on 01366 385777 to know more about what we do.