About this project
At OpenBCI, we are cautiously optimistic about the beneficial potential of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). If we hit the $160,000 stretch goal, we will provide the option to pre-order a tDCS Shield that is compatible with both the Ganglion and our 32bit board. In addition, we will design custom Ultracortex node mounts for tDCS-specific electrodes. For more information about the stretch goal, check out our update #4
Thanks to all our backers for helping to make the Ganglion and Ultracortex Mark IV possible!
With this campaign we are featuring two new OpenBCI Products, the OpenBCI Ganglion Board & the Ultracortex Mark IV. The OpenBCI Ganglion Board is a low-cost, 4-channel, Arduino-compatible, programmable biosensing platform perfect for novice biohackers, students, neurofeedback, and low-cost research.
The Ultracortex Mark IV is the next edition of the Ultracortex—a comfortable, adjustable, and 3D-printable EEG headset, compatible with all of the OpenBCI boards. The Ultracortex’s revolutionary design uses dry EEG sensors and takes less than 30 seconds to put on and get up-and-running (check out the video demo in the Applications & Featured Projects section below).
Hi Kickstarter! We’re back. : )
We have a few exciting developments in the works since our last Kickstarter campaign. Once again, we’re asking for your help in bringing them to life!
For those of you who don’t know, OpenBCI is an open-source platform of hardware and software tools that makes it possible to measure, analyze, and utilize the human body’s electrical signals. The OpenBCI system can measure brain data (EEG), muscle data (EMG), heart activity (ECG), and more! The OpenBCI 32bit Board, from our last Kickstarter campaign, is currently being used and improved by researchers, scientists, engineers, artists, designers, and students in over 20 countries around the world.
As always, our mission at OpenBCI is to continue to lower the barrier of entry to neuroscience and biosensing research and development. We are dedicated to open-source innovation of human-computer interface technologies. What can we build together?
- Make the OpenBCI platform more cost-effective so it can be available to everybody from research scientists to high school students
- Get OpenBCI into classrooms (high school, college, and grad school)—OpenBCI is a learning tool as much as it is a research tool. We want to empower the next generation of neuro engineers and scientists. Check out our Learning Page
- Enable new forms of research—10 OpenBCI research-grade devices for the cost of 1 alternate device
- Do our part to ensure that the domains of neuroscience and biosensing remain as transparent as possible
- Offer a powerful, low-cost tool for neurofeedback
- Make open-source biosensing cheap and easy enough to do at home
- Provide research-quality biosensing tools to do-it-yourself (DIY) biohackers
- Expand the OpenBCI community!
The OpenBCI Ganglion is a high-quality, affordable bio-sensing device. On the input side, there are 4 high-impedance differential inputs, a driven ground (DRL), a positive voltage supply (Vdd), and a negative voltage supply (Vss). The inputs can be used as individual differential inputs for measuring EMG or ECG, or they can be individually connected to a reference electrode for measuring EEG.
We are using a Simblee for our on-board microcontroller and wireless connection. Simblee is RF Digital’s next generation Arduino-compatible radio module. It is smaller, cheaper, and more robust than the RFDuino, which we have been using on our OpenBCI 32bit Boards and USB Dongles. The new Simblee provides user programmable flash, 29 GPIO pins, and the ability to update software over the air (OTA). Every Ganglion will be pre-programmed with versatile firmware so you can get started sensing your body right out of the box. We will also break-out up to 20 of the GPIOs for you to hack with.
Accessories for the Ganglion, such as touch-proof electrode cable adaptors and gold-cup electrodes will be available for purchase through our online store after the campaign is over.
We have been putting our Ganglion prototype boards through their paces, and we want to share with you some of the data. We have measured our intern, Tao Lin’s brain waves from the back of his head (O1 and O2, on the 10-20 system) using the Ganglion and the Ultracortex Mark III. Here is a screen-shot of our GUI software showing Tao's awesome alpha.
Below are graphs we made from the data. 1 minute, relaxing with eyes open, 1 minute relaxing with eyes closed.
We also have test data to show the Input Referred Noise of the Ganglion system. Here are graphs of a 10 minute test done with all of the inputs tied to the Driven Right Leg (DRL).
We’ve come a long way since the Spiderclaw, the 3D-printable EEG headset concept from our first Kickstarter campaign. Over the past 2 years, we’ve designed, printed, and tested many headset concepts. Today, we are selling the Ultracortex Mark III Kit from our online store, and the files are also available on our Github, in case you want to print the Mark III yourself!
The images below depict the evolution of the OpenBCI 3D-printable headset, starting from the Spiderclaw V1 through the concept render of the Ultracortex Mark IV, which is one of the featured rewards in this campaign.
The Ultracortex Mark III is the latest working version of the OpenBCI headset. You can find all of the 3D files. links to hardware, and an assembly on our Github repo. We designed it for maximum adjustability and ease of use. In our design thinking, we prioritized the use of dry electrodes (pictured in the images above). Using dry sensors significantly reduces the time needed for setup (no more sticky paste!) and makes the overall experience of wearing the headset much more pleasant.
We underwent countless iterations of the Electrode Holder contraption (pictured below). In the end we came up with a novel design that has two mechanisms for adjusting the pressure of the electrode on the scalp. The first is an “integer screw” that twists and locks in place to set a fixed distance between the electrode holder and your scalp. The second mechanism is a low-rate spring (1.3 lbs/in) that acts as a pressure relief, significantly increasing comfort. By adjusting the electrode holders that are arrayed around the frame, you can optimize the the headset for any head size or shape. The Ultracortex Mark IV will use a similar, but more compact and easy-to-assemble design.
One of the great things about the Ultracortex design is how fast it is to get it up-and-running. Adjusting the headset for different head shapes and sizes is easy. All you have to do is twist the nut in the electrode holder. Once you adjusted the electrode holders at the various frame nodes, you can put the headset on and get up to 16 channels of EEG data streaming in under 30 seconds. Check out the video below!
Ultracortex Mark IV Design Goals
We have very high expectations for the Ultracortex Mark IV. Our design priorities are as follows:
- Higher node count (especially above motor cortex & visual cortex). We hope to be able to target all 61 electrode locations of the 10-10 System, as depicted in the right head map of the image below
- Maximum comfort for prolonged recording
- Simplified assembly and adjustability (based on feedback from our Mark III customers)
- Secured electrode cabling for reduced noise and improved aesthetic
Ultracortex Reward Options
With this campaign, you have the option to select 3 different Ultracortex Mark IV rewards, all of which come with an OpenBCI Ganglion Board:
- Print-It-Yourself ($350): this reward comes with all of the pieces required to assemble a full Ultracortex Mark IV aside from the pieces you can print yourself with a desktop 3D-printer, in addition to an OpenBCI Ganglion Board. This kit is perfect for backers who have their own 3D-printer.
- Unassembled ($450): this reward comes with all of the pieces required to assemble a full Ultracortex Mark IV headset, including the pieces that are 3D-printable, and an OpenBCI Ganglion Board.
- Fully Assembled ($650): if you select this reward, you will receive a fully-assembled Ultracortex Mark IV with an OpenBCI Ganglion Board. It will arrive ready to plug in and fire up!
To get a better sense of the Ultracortex assembly process, look at the Ultracortex Mark III Print & Assembly guide on our Github. Remember, one of the main design goals of the Mark IV is a much simpler assembly process.
The OpenBCI platform is a playground for accessing and utilizing the electrical signals of the human body. The human nervous system is responsible for sending electrical messages to and from every part of the body. With the OpenBCI board, you have the capability of listening in to those signals with high resolution. Today, designers, engineers, and scientists use tools like OpenBCI for many different things, including:
- Myoelectric (muscle) applications such as neuro-powered robotics
- New interfaces for people with ALS and Locked-In Syndrome
- Hybrid assistive technologies for people with paralysis
- Neurofeedback training for treating ADHD and depression
- Serious gaming
- New media art
- Game design
- Bio-responsive sound design
- Wearable sensing & quantified self
In the video below, a participant of the NYC Media’s Annual Summit put on the Ultracortex for the first time, and within 30 seconds he was able to control a 3D-printed robotic hand with minute EMG signals from his scalp.
In the following video, OpenBCI co-founder & CEO—Conor Russomanno—demonstrates how to control the same robotic hand with EMG signals from his forearm.
In the following video, Chip Audette—one of OpenBCI’s most active community contributors—demonstrates how to control an RC Hex Robot with Alpha brain waves and visual stimuli:
A number of other amazing biometric demonstrations and research studies have been by members of the OpenBCI Community. Here’s a list of some of the best ones:
- Brain Controlled Shark - 5 people plugged into one OpenBCI Board working together to control a floating shark
- OpenBCI & OpenVIBE P300 Speller - a thought-controlled communication tool
- Transatlantic Biodata - hackers controlled each others’ muscles between Amsterdam and Montreal with an OpenBCI Board and a Human-to-Human interface made by BackYard Brains
- Brain-Controlled Labyrinth Game (featured on Hackaday)
- Do Binaural Beats Really Affect Brain waves?
- SSVEEPERS - a two-player SSVEP-based game using one OpenBCI board.
- EMG Instruments - A simple EMG-based digital instrument, responding to different muscle groups
- Droneuro - an elegantly designed audio neurofeedback sound clip created with brain waves
OpenBCI has a fantastic worldwide community of scientists, engineers, and DIY neurohackers. Our community page is full of amazing OpenBCI projects, research ideas, and upcoming neurotechnology events. Every OpenBCI community member has an “Electric Karma” score corresponding to their engagement on community page (aka OpenBCI bragging rights). What are you waiting for!? :)
In addition to the community page, OpenBCI has an active forum with daily contributors. If you need help getting up-and-running, or if want to learn more about what top-level researchers are doing with the OpenBCI technology, go visit the community page and the forum!
In addition to our active forum contributors and community members, we also have wonderful research partners and sponsors, who have helped us get to where we are today!
- Korea Institute of Science and Technology
- Mensia Technologies
- School of Computer Science and Engineering Southeast University, China
- Synaptic Design
- Israel Brain Technologies (IBT)
- RF Digital
- Smart Information Flow Technologies
- Hack The Brain
- Volumetric Society
- Florida Research Instruments
- Seeed Studios
- Experimental Technology & NeuroGaming Conference and Expo
- Acure Brain Lab
- de Sa Lab (UCSD)
- ThreeForm Fashion
OpenBCI began in early 2014 after our first successful Kickstarter campaign (Thanks Kickstarter!). We based our products on the work that Joel and Conor did as a part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant opportunity in 2013. The goal then, as it is now, was to create a low-cost, high-quality EEG sensor for non-traditional users. The V1 and V2 prototype designs led directly to the OpenBCI 32bit Board (pictured below), which is still in production, and available on our website. After designing and working with the OpenBCI boards, we felt that we could bring the costs down even further by simplifying the signal acquisition hardware and reducing the channel count. The result of our testing and prototyping during the Summer of 2015 resulted in the new Ganglion Board.
In addition to the 32bit board, we also offer a 16-channel R&D Kit which is comprised of an OpenBCI 32bit Board and a daughter board (aka the Daisy Module) with doubles the number of electrode inputs from 8 to 16!
Paul Sajda PhD - Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology, Departmental Faculty Mediator at Columbia University & director of Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing (LIINC)
Jeremy Frey - PhD Candidate at University of Bordeaux, France
In many areas of industry and research, the expense and lack of usability in high-quality equipment can stifle scientific discovery. We know that affordable Open Source hardware and software tools accelerate innovation. OpenBCI is committed to making research-grade biosensing tools more accessible to scientists, makers, and biohacking enthusiasts everywhere.
We are committed to open-sourcing the hardware designs of all of our products. As soon as we start shipping backer rewards, we will publish all of the design files and bill of materials (BOM), as well as software, on our Github and Learning Page.
Risks and challenges
The Ultracortex Mark IV is in the concept phase, and the design is not final. We have goals, but we may not hit all of them. We have listed the design priorities, and we will do our best to achieve all of them. The more Kickstarter support we get, the more likely we are to meet all of our goals. With that said, the Mark III is a working version and we can promise that the Mark IV will be even better, with more sampling locations and an easier assembly process!
The Ganglion. With any piece of hardware, there is a lot of risk in manufacturing. Joel is an experienced electronics design engineer and we have strong relationships with manufacturers in Asia and right here in the USA. Having developed the OpenBCI 8bit and 32bit Boards, we are confident that we be able to deliver the Ganglion in July of 2016. We already have a working prototype with high quality signals and wireless capability. In the coming months, we will go through a 2nd prototyping round to squeeze even more signal performance from the board, as well as incorporate the microSD card and accelerometer.
You should also know, that Joel and Conor have both successfully Kickstarted before! Joel has worked on 2 Kickstarter campaigns, start to finish—PulseSensor, an open-source heart-rate monitor for Arduino, and they both launched and fulfilled the first OpenBCI project. Today, both PulseSensor and OpenBCI are widely-used tools being implemented for research and learning. Conor and Joel have worked together since before the start of the first OpenBCI campaign. Both have been around the block when it comes to crowdfunding are well-prepared for the challenges ahead!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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