Recent advances in electrodes for noninvasive recording of electroencephalograms expand opportunities collecting such data for diagnosis of neurological disorders and brain–computer interfaces. Existing technologies, however, cannot be used effectively in continuous, uninterrupted modes for more than a few days due to irritation and irreversible degradation in the electrical and mechanical properties of the skin interface. Here we introduce a soft, foldable collection of electrodes in open, fractal mesh geometries that can mount directly and chronically on the complex surface topology of the auricle and the mastoid, to provide high-fidelity and long-term capture of electroencephalograms in ways that avoid any significant thermal, electrical, or mechanical loading of the skin. Experimental and computational studies establish the fundamental aspects of the bending and stretching mechanics that enable this type of intimate integration on the highly irregular and textured surfaces of the auricle. Cell level tests and thermal imaging studies establish the biocompatibility and wearability of such systems, with examples of high-quality measurements over periods of 2 wk with devices that remain mounted throughout daily activities including vigorous exercise, swimming, sleeping, and bathing. Demonstrations include a text speller with a steady-state visually evoked potential-based brain–computer interface and elicitation of an event-related potential (P300 wave).
Electroencephalography (EEG) emerged in the second decade of the 20th century as a technique for recording the neurophysiological response. Since then, there has been little variation in the physical principles that sustain the signal acquisition probes, otherwise called electrodes. Currently, new advances in technology have brought new unexpected fields of applications apart from the clinical, for which new aspects such as usability and gel-free operation are first order priorities. Thanks to new advances in materials and integrated electronic systems technologies, a new generation of dry electrodes has been developed to fulfill the need. In this manuscript, we review current approaches to develop dry EEG electrodes for clinical and other applications, including information about measurement methods and evaluation reports. We conclude that, although a broad and non-homogeneous diversity of approaches has been evaluated without a consensus in procedures and methodology, their performances are not far from those obtained with wet electrodes, which are considered the gold standard, thus enabling the former to be a useful tool in a variety of novel applications. View Full-Text
Monitoring human brain activity has great potential in helping us understand the functioning of our brain, as well as in preventing mental disorders and cognitive decline and improve our quality of life. Noninvasive surface EEG is the dominant modality for studying brain dynamics and performance in real-life interaction of humans with their environment. To take full advantage of surface EEG recordings, EEG technology has to be advanced to a level that it can be used in daily life activities. Furthermore, users have to see it as an unobtrusive option to monitor and improve their health. To achieve this, EEG systems have to be transformed from stationary, wired, and cumbersome systems used mostly in clinical practice today, to intelligent wearable, wireless, convenient, and comfortable lifestyle solutions that provide high signal quality. Here, we discuss state-of-the-art in wireless and wearable EEG solutions and a number of aspects where such solutions require improvements when handling electrical activity of the brain. We address personal traits and sensory inputs, brain signal generation and acquisition, brain signal analysis, and feedback generation. We provide guidelines on how these aspects can be advanced further such that we can develop intelligent wearable, wireless, lifestyle EEG solutions. We recognized the following aspects as the ones that need rapid research progress: application driven design, end-user driven development, standardization and sharing of EEG data, and development of sophisticated approaches to handle EEG artifacts.
Electroencephalography (EEG) holds promise as a neuroimaging technology that can be used to understand how the human brain functions in real-world, operational settings while individuals move freely in perceptually-rich environments. In recent years, several EEG systems have been developed that aim to increase the usability of the neuroimaging technology in real-world settings. Here, the usability of three wireless EEG systems from different companies are compared to a conventional wired EEG system, BioSemi's ActiveTwo, which serves as an established laboratory-grade 'gold standard' baseline. The wireless systems compared include Advanced Brain Monitoring's B-Alert X10, Emotiv Systems' EPOC and the 2009 version of QUASAR's Dry Sensor Interface 10–20. The design of each wireless system is discussed in relation to its impact on the system's usability as a potential real-world neuroimaging system. Evaluations are based on having participants complete a series of cognitive tasks while wearing each of the EEG acquisition systems. This report focuses on the system design, usability factors and participant comfort issues that arise during the experimental sessions. In particular, the EEG systems are assessed on five design elements: adaptability of the system for differing head sizes, subject comfort and preference, variance in scalp locations for the recording electrodes, stability of the electrical connection between the scalp and electrode, and timing integration between the EEG system, the stimulus presentation computer and other external events.
We present wearable dry electrodes made of silver nanowires for electrophysiological sensing such as electrocardiography and electromyography. The dry electrodes perform as well as the Ag/AgCl wet electrodes when the subject is resting and show fewer motion artifacts, but without the electrolytic gel. The nanowire electrodes show no signs of skin irritation, which is desirable for long-term health monitoring.