Monday, 18 August 2014

Another update on available and promised wearable devices (November 28, 2014)

In November, 2012 I published a post on some of the available and promised "wearable" neuroshaping devices.  I updated it in April, 2014.  Not a lot has changed as far as availability. For some of the new devices, the general release dates keep being pushed forward.  However, the long anticipated Muse, is now available.

The MindWave from Neurosky is a one active channel device.  It has been available for a while. It retails for about $100 and comes with ten apps and many more are available (see http://www.neurosky.com/Products/MindWave.aspx).  I have tried it and it seems to work, and it is great that it can be used with third-party software such as BioExplorer and BioEra.  However, I find it very uncomfortable.  It might be fine for a child but not for someone with a big head like mine!
MindWave

There is an earlier version (MindSet), which was the first mass market neuroshaping device
introduced in 2009.  It has earphones and looks more comfortable.  It uses the same chip set as the MindWave.  NeuroSky provides a comparison chart that shows the capabilities of each of their products (see http://support.neurosky.com/kb/technology/what-are-the-differences-between-the-mindset-mindwave-mindwave-mobile-and-mindband).

Another company promises to introduce the Melon, originally called the Axio.  It is based on the NeuroSky chip.  It is an attractive and comfortable appearing three sensor band, which is adjustable to different head sizes.  Again, they exceeded their goal in crowd-
sourcing (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/806146824/melon-a-headband-and-mobile-app-to-measure-your-fo).
Melon
The developers of the Melon now have a website (www.thinkmelon.com).  The device was promised for the summer of 2014, but it still isn't available  Given that this device uses the NeuroSky chip, I thought it might make its original release date.  But, in this business, no one seems to meet their release dates.

Muse
Muse from Interaxon is now available (http://www.choosemuse.com).  Money was raised initially through an Indiegogo campaign, which quickly exceeded the goal, and more private money was raised subsequently.  It was originally to be released in the spring of 2013, but the date for its release was pushed forward several times. Prototypes were demonstrated at CES 2014 and received rave reviews. The marketing of it has been truly awe-inspiring.  It now can be obtained, although there is only one app for it, Calm, which is designed to develop focused awareness.

The Muse was developed with Interaxon's own chip set and technologies.  The device has seven sensors and four active channels (AFp3, AFp4, TP9, TP10), which are on the forehead and around the ears.  Detailed technical specifications are now available (http://s3.amazonaws.com/totem_production/assets/other/5987/Muse_-_Tech_Spec_Sheet_CES_-_2014.pdf?1387319049), and they look quite respectable.    

The producers of the Emotiv  EPOC 14 channel device are developing the INSIGHT, which is a five channel device.  Again, they exceeded their kickstarter goal of $100,000 by over $1.5 million (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tanttle/emotiv-insight-optimize-your-brain-fitness-and-per).

INSIGHT
The technical specifications of the INSIGHT reveal that it will have five active channels at AF3, AF4, T7, T8, Pz with two references (see http://emotiv.co/product.php).  The EPOC required saline preparation, but the INSIGHT uses "a proprietory polymer sensor that offers great electrical conductivity without any preparation whatsoever."  This is the truly innovative aspect of this product. Also, these polymer sensors can be applied over hair, while the other products listed above only have sensors on areas free of hair.

The INSIGHT was originally promised for the summer of 2014, but the release date is now December 2014.

The ENOBIO from Neuroelectrics (http://www.neuroelectrics.com/enobio) is a very promising, but expensive high end device.  It comes in 8 channel, 20 channel and 32 channel configurations.  It uses dry electrodes and bluetooth.  This one is definitely on my wish list, and it is actually available now.









Please feel free to comment or, if you wish, direct questions and comments to me directly at drampsych at gmail.com.