Imec and Holst Centre Introduce EEG headset for emotion detection

At CES 2018 (9-12 January) in Las Vegas, USA, imec and Holst Centre will demonstrate a prototype of an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset that can measure emotions and cognitive processes in the brain.

The headset is described as a major breakthrough in emotion measurement for therapeutic, learning and gaming applications. Traditionally, EEG brain scans are used to diagnose medical conditions such as epilepsy or sleep disorders. More recently, they have been introduced as a way to detect emotions. Researchers are looking into e-learning applications, and developers of virtual games are exploring the possibilities of emotion-based e-gaming. Such application domains require real-time emotion detection, which can be achieved through wireless EEG headsets.

Imec’s EEG headset combines EEG dry-electrodes from Datwyler and software that monitors in real-time, frontal EEG signals that are related to the wearer’s emotional state. The system contains a headphone jack and is Bluetooth-compatible for music streaming. Music playback allows the system to measure, but also influence the emotions of the person that is wearing the headset, says imec. With the help of artificial intelligence, the EEG headset can learn the personal musical preferences of the wearer and compose and playback, in real-time, music that fits their preferences and influence the wearer’s emotions to achieve the desired emotional state. The machine learning algorithms to achieve this were developed by Osaka University under the Center of Innovation (COI) Program integrating personalised emotion classification and real-time music composition into the system. “Imec’s extensive expertise in this domain is a result of nearly a decade of work in creating circuits and compact systems for wearable EEG monitoring,” stated Chris Van Hoof, senior director connected health solutions. The research centre developed a new type of EEG headset for clinical research on emotion estimation in therapeutic environments or for neurofeedback through aural stimulation for relaxation, cognitive enhancement and memory improvement purposes. The headset is pre-fitted with electrodes, eliminating the need for expertise in electrode placement – a typical challenge in EEG monitoring –  and can be used regularly with minimal setup time. 

“Our expertise in machine learning and personalised emotion classification helped us to build a unique EEG system that links music that is offered through the headphones with emotional changes,” says Professor Masayuki Numao from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (ISIR) ,Osaka University. “We have achieved this Brain Melody system  by combining model-based emotion recognition with techniques for real-time music composition and musical expression.”

“We are excited to be part of imec’s endeavour in creating the paradigm shift in wearable EEG monitoring,” says Ronny Vrijens, head of new product development at Datwyler Pharma Packaging International. “Together with imec, we have significantly improved the reliability, EEG signal quality, and ease of integration of the dry electrodes used in this new EEG headset.”

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