Nokia N900 app performs brain scan in the comfort of your home

An electroencephalogram, otherwise known as an EEG, is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain by using sensors attached to your head and hooked up by wires to a computer. The computer then records your brain’s electrical activity on a PC screen. Normally, to take EEG measurements the patient would have to visit a lab with a big, expensive scanner set-up. However, researcher Jakob Eg Larsen and his colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby, have come up with a way to make this system much more portable using an app specially designed for the Nokia N900.

Larsen found that by hooking up a standard EEG headset to the phone, you could monitor your neural signals from anywhere. This is incredibly useful because it means patients don’t have to make a special trip to a lab in order to have tests run. “White Coat Syndrome“ can effect the test results of patients who are particularly anxious when surrounded by doctors and expensive medical equipment. Instead of having to deal with waiting rooms, doctors, and beeping machines, patients could measure their brain activity in the comfort of their own homes where they feel completely relaxed.

The headset Larsen uses would normally connect to a PC wirelessly via a USB receiver. Instead, the patient can view a simplified 3D model on the N900’s screen. The model lights up when brainwaves are detected and can be rotated by simply swiping the screen. To get even more intensive results, the app can connect to a remote server, crunch some numbers, and then send the results back to the phone. The smartphone EEG would also allow researchers to monitor groups of people as they work on a task together. Additionally, the phone could be used to obtain certain brain responses by showing photos or video on the screen.

For people with conditions like epilepsy, who have to take time out of their day-to-day lives to go to the lab and sit there for an hour during the EEG, this will definitely make life easier. The goal is to make an EEG a regular thing that you have at home, like a home-based heart monitor.

via New Scientist 

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