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Animo is a versatile, wireless, open-source EEG headset for games, meditation training, therapy, computers, music, and more.

What is it?

Animo will be an open-source, bluetooth-enabled brainwave interface device. We're seeking funding in order to fine-tune our design and produce the first working, market-ready units.

How does it work?

Brainwaves are cyclic electrical patterns that appear on your scalp, caused by brain activity, corresponding to the type of activity and where in the brain it's happening. By isolating, amplifying, and analyzing these signals, you can determine some of what's going on inside your head.

What can I do with it?

Being able to see these brainwave signals opens the door to a wide range of applications. People have used this technology to compose music, to control video games and computers, to learn meditation, to control vehicles and toys, and to train study skills. Similar devices are commonly used in biofeedback systems to help people deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, tension, and a host of other challenges. Having access to both preprocessed and raw data, from multiple sensors, allows for greater accuracy and a wide variety of signals, for whatever project you have in mind.

How is this different from existing EEG headsets?

  • It's open-source yet made with usability in mind. Fully Open Software, Open Hardware, Open Firmware, released under the GPL, but not requiring a PhD to use.
  • Dry electrodes. The most common clinical multi-channel EEGs have wet electrodes, which dry out and leave a residue on the user. Dry electrodes means no cleanup required.
  • Most consumer-grade headsets have only a single dry sensor electrode, or at most two. Animo will have multiple dry electrodes, allowing far greater flexibility for users and developers.
  • Evoked-response potentials. In addition to typical brainwave activity, Animo is designed to sense unconscious signals related to learning, expectation, and decision making, opening a whole new world of applications.

What specifically will the money be used for?

  • In-depth testing on the electrode prototypes to determine which is best for our purposes in terms of cost, performance, and durability.
  • In-depth testing on and tuning of the analog front-end, the most complex and crucial part of this project.
  • Printed circuitboard manufacturing runs.
  • Parts and modules for prototyping and manufacture.
  • Software licenses, to ensure compatibility.

When will I get one?

We're aiming to finish and ship the final rewards by 2012. People who choose Beta-level rewards will receive them earlier, though there will likely be bugs to work out. The source files will initially only be available to backers, but will be released to the world once the final rewards are out the door.

FAQ

  • Animo will use an ARM Cortex processor, though the exact model has not yet been chosen. There will be a good amount of flash for firmware and configuration storage, and plenty of RAM.

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  • It's an updated version of our previously-proven design for mu-wave readings, to be a bit more generalized and now centered around the ADS1296 chip. This new frontend is providing a gain around 1000, with the ADS providing another 1-12, configurable on-the-fly.

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  • The device is completely wireless when in normal operation. A lightweight lithium-polymer battery provides power and a bluetooth module provides data communications. The standard micro-USB charging port is positioned so that the device can't be used while plugged in, eliminating electrocution hazards. Plus, there's a number of safety mechanisms to detect and prevent possibly hazardous situations, automatically.

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  • Probably! We're testing with BrainBay, OpenVibe, BioEra, and more. The device acts like a bluetooth serial port, both for ease of use and for compatibility with existing software. Raw data streams will be available, as well as data in EDF+ and OpenXDF, two commonly used formats. If you need a different format, it's all open and configurable, from baud rates to packet structure.

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    3 backers

    Follow along with the development process and get a newsletter every step of the way.

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    Get an awesome 3D-printed pendant of our logo.

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    1 backer

    Get a Final circuitboard from the initial Production run, hot off the presses. You'll get a bare PCB (unpopulated). Just add your own components, load the firmware, and you're ready to roll.

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    Get a beta-level circuitboard from the initial testing run, hot off the presses. You'll get a bare PCB (unpopulated), suitable for those who wish to join in on the early development.

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    Get both the Beta and Final versions of the unpopulated circuitboard. If you can't decide between following along with a Beta board and building a working Final board, this is for you.

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    Get a Final-level DIY kit. When Final PCBs are sent out, you'll also recieve all the necessary components to populate the board and use it. Soldering experience required!

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    Get a Beta-level DIY kit. When Beta PCBs are sent out, you'll also recieve all the necessary components to populate the board and try it out. This kit is intended for early adopters and developers. Soldering experience required!

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    Get both the Beta and Final DIY kits. You'll recieve the Beta kit as soon as they're available, and then once the Final kit is ready, you'll get one of those as well. Great for someone who wants to follow along with development, but also wants the final, proven version.

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    Get a Final version, proven, handmade unit, fully-assembled and ready-to-use out of the box. If you aren't handy with a soldering iron, don't trust your testing/calibration skills, or just want to start reading brainwaves with minimal fuss, this is what you're looking for.

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    Get an assembled Final version, plus two hours of one-on-one time with the lead engineer! This can be technical support, lessons, instruction, or general brainwave talk. If you're within an hour of Manchester, NH by car, this can be face-to-face, otherwise it can be done via Skype.

Funding period

- (45 days)