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.
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.
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.
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.
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.