EEG headset - a gadget for music and emotion correction

    This year a significant event took place: the Belgian Imec Technology Center, the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University, and Datwyler presented a prototype of an extremely interesting device. The helmet gadget removes the EEG and analyzes the received signal, “understanding” what kind of music we like. In addition, the device can analyze cognitive processes, measure the emotional background and independently generate music in order to improve this background.

    The authoritative online edition of called the device “a major breakthrough.” I liked the idea behind the principle of the device: use a comparative analysis of the EEG to determine the emotional response, including the musical works. I decided to learn more about the device and its operation principle.

    First demonstration

    The prototype headset was first introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018) in Las Vegas in January 2018. According to reviews of visitors who had the opportunity to test the helmet on themselves, the devil-device really appreciated their musical tastes. Moreover, the algorithm, working with the device, generated musical signals that elevate the mood.

    According to the developers, the device can also identify and capture emotions in real time, for example, while playing a game or watching a movie. Reports of those present at the exhibition recorded a lot of enthusiasm about the novelty and its capabilities. Researchers willingly told visitors how this device works.

    Operating principle

    The helmet itself is designed to conveniently accommodate the so-called. dry EEG electrodes, made in the form of metal spikes with a blunt end. Previously, the biggest problems outside the clinical use of EEG were considered the possibility of fast dry placement of electrodes and long-term use of the device. The design features of the helmet, the dry electrodes from Datwyler and the capacious battery helped with the solution of these problems. Also, the helmet is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack and bluetooth for streaming audio.

    With the help of electrodes, the device can accurately remove frontal EEG signals, which provide information about emotional reactions. The software then processes the signals and determines the emotional response, for example, to music. The algorithm not only analyzes the emotional state when playing music, but also records the results in the user's personal profile. Then, many of the signals of a particular user are processed by AI, equipped with a self-learning function. When starting the correction mode, the algorithm generates a piece of music based on the user's preferences in real time.

    Who did what

    It is known that the machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence of the system were handled by the center of innovation at Osaka University, where the specialist managed to combine a personalized classification of emotions, a comprehensive assessment of the user's musical tastes and the formation of music content on this basis. Professor Masayuki Numao from the Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (ISIR), Osaka University, said:
    "Our experience in machine learning and individual classification of emotions helped us create a unique EEG system that links music with emotional changes ... We combined emotion recognition based on models with real-time music composing techniques."

    Imec, in turn, is proud of the development of the helmet, which at the moment is perhaps the most universal form factor for EEG electrodes. In particular, Chris Van Hof, Imec senior director for the development of medical solutions emphasizes:
    “Imec’s significant experience in this area has been the result of almost a decade of work on schematics and compact systems for wearable EEG.”

    Van Hof also notes the contribution of colleagues from Osaka University and Datwyler, and clarifies that the main merit of Imec is the versatility of the helmet design. According to the scientist, the interface can be used both for clinical studies and as a daily gadget, which does not require much time to install the electrodes and is able to work for quite a long time.

    Datwyler dealt directly with dry electrodes. The representative of the company Ronnie Vryzhans noted that the development of a prototype of a new device together with Imec helped to create dry electrodes with a higher signal stability, which in itself is already a great achievement

    It is a little about EEG and domestic researches

    For those who are not quite up to date, an EEG or EEG is a registration of the bioelectrical activity of the brain to study its functional state. Often EEG is used for diagnostic (medical) and research purposes. Registration of electrical activity occurs non-invasively, using electroencephalograph electrodes attached to the head. The signals from the electrodes are amplified, after which the signal is processed by the ADC and recorded in digital form.

    The EEG determines the rhythm of the electrical activity of the brain. Depending on the state and factors affecting a person, each of the 10 studied rhythms (α, β, γ, δ, θ, κ, λ, μ, σ, τ) may vary.

    Conducting experiments on psychoacoustics demonstrated a strong relationship of mental phenomena with EEG changes. Listening to music and enjoying music is no exception.

    So in a rather capacious article about the experiments “EEG-Correlates of Responding to Music of Different Styles,” Russian researchers Nadezhda Kaygorodova, Mikhail Yatsenko, Nikolai Afanasyev describe in detail the relationship of emotions obtained when listening to music of various styles with electroencephalogram recordings during listening. It is likely that this domestic study, among others, formed the basis of the Japanese-Belgian development.

    Further study of the EEG results recorded while listening to music, led researchers to the idea of ​​combining the electroencephalograph and sound reproducing device, which could be used to correct stress states.

    Methods that are close to the EEG headset from Imec were described in 2014 in the work “Combining the EEG-biocontrol technology with music therapy for effective correction of stress-induced disorders” (A. Fedotchev, O. Sung Chong, Semikin G. I.). The work demonstrated the relative effectiveness of the method in relation to disorders caused by stress, and good performance of a similar device during emotional correction.


    Every year there are all new devices based on neural interfaces, which are often based on the EEG principle. As you can see, nothing theoretically offered in this helmet. The merit of its creators is different: for the first time they put into practice a universal wearable EEG device with functionality for correcting emotions with the help of music. The combination of form factor and functionality, theoretical base and technology once again led to the implementation of a bold idea that can easily scale. I would appreciate your opinions on the new product and how you can still use this gadget.

    In our catalog, there are no gadgets with neural interfaces, but many other electronics capable of lifting the mood with high fidelity of sound reproduction, for example, acoustic systems, Headphones and amplifiers

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