Imagine the ability to log brain activity, derive insight from the data, and fine-tune your life to make the most out of it. Sounds like something out of the future? This spring, bioinformatics company Emotiv Lifesciences plans to make this a reality with the release of the Emotiv Insight headset, currently in the late funding stages of a Kickstarter campaign. The standard version costs $229, a developer version with SDK access $329, and a research version with both SDK access and EEG data $429. The Kickstarter campaign has been enormously successful and quickly met the initial $100,000 goal. The campaign recently met its stretch goal of over $1,000,000, which adds a 6-axis inertial sensor to the headset. The brain is an incredibly complex organ. It is made up over around 100 billion nerve cells, which can be measured through electroencephalography (also known as EEG). Emotive Insight records EEG data in real time and in a variety of different forms, such as through Alpha, Beta, and Gamma waves. Emotiv Insight then translates this EEG data into easily understood and actionable forms. “Emotiv Insight provides metrics for desirable and undesirable characteristics which are familiar to the users,” said Kim Du, Emotiv’s Vice President for Corporate Development. “The recorded levels of these metrics during different sessions of similar activity can be used to reveal details about how the user can improve their performance or mental attitudes based on the differences between specific sessions. For example, does playing classical music allow you to focus more or less when you are studying? Do you study better late at night or early in the morning?” The main visual dashboard for Emotiv Insight is a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The app doesn’t reveal raw brainwave data, but instead real-life cognitive performance feedback across areas such as attention, focus, engagement, interest, excitement, affinity, relaxation, stress. Emotiv links brain data and areas of cognitive performance using complex algorithms based on a combination of accepted measures (for example, “frontal asymmetry is linked to feelings of attraction or repulsion, positive or negative feelings,” Du said) and learned patterns based on controlled experiments. All Emotiv Insight data will be uploaded to a cloud server where it can be further analyzed and compared against similar demographic groups or the larger Emotiv Insight wearing population. Du stressed that while Emotiv Insight measures EEG brain data, it is not targeted to the EEG research community. Instead, she said, “it is designed to empower more people to understand their brain and provide the research community with an easy to use, wearable EEG for everyday use.” “There are significant benefits to having a multi-channel system with spatial resolution of key EEG sites around the cerebral cortex,” she added. “We’ve spent a lot time building new detections and software that provides feedback to allow users to optimize their cognitive performance. Research has shown that when you are made aware of all of these indicators, people are better informed and empowered to make decisions to optimize and improve their cognitive fitness and performance.” As of Monday, Sept 9, there are six more days left to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, which will be funded on Monday, September 16 at 12 AM. More information about Emotive Insight and Emotiv Lifesciences can be found at emotivinsight.com. Jon Salm is an associate client analyst at Millward Brown Digital in New York City and a freelance data journalist in the Visual.ly marketplace. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Lee University. You can find him online at about.me/salm.jon and follow him on twitter @S4LM3R.
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