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brainHat Mobile – OpenBCI On the Go and Off the Grid

If your project involves getting out of the lab and into the field, you can use the latest brainHat system to take your OpenBCI biosensing experiments anywhere your mind will follow.

We have modified the latest Raspberry Pi Buster operating system to include not only the brainHat server program, but also a program to configure the Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi. Simply power up the Raspberry Pi and it will become a Wi-Fi access point you can connect to with your phone or computer. It will begin streaming the Cyton or Cyton+Daisy sample data using both Lab Streaming Layer and brainflow multicast format, so you can view and record your data using any LSL client, or the OpenBCI GUI.

We wrote the brainHat Mobile application for Android so we could control the OpenBCI board in a wearable and portable setup. You can use the app to view the EEG and band power graphs in the field.

brainHat Mobile for Android displays unfiltered or filtered EEG, and band power graphs.

You can also start and stop recording of data files in either .BDF or OpenBCI ASCII .TXT format. The entire Cyton or Cyton+Daisy sample is saved to the file, including the Accelerometer, Other, and Analog channels.

Use the Raw Data page to start and stop recording files.

Check out this video to see the system in action

To take your own OpenBCI experiments out of the lab and off the grid, follow the steps below.

Note, these instructions are for a ‘headless’ configuration. First time setup will be easier if you can connect the Pi to a monitor and keyboard and simply open a terminal for the initial configuration steps.

  • Download the file from our public folder
  • Unzip the file and flash the .img file to a SD card, insert it into your Pi and power it up.
  • Wait for the ‘brainHatMobile’ Wi-Fi access point to appear, and connect to it with your computer’s Wi-Fi. The password is “raspberry”.
  • Open a web browser, and go to, which is the address of the Pi as the access point. On this page you will see user name and password details to be able to log into the system.
  • Log into the system using either ssh or VNC and open a terminal.
  • Run ‘sudo raspi-config’ and expand the file system.
  • Reboot the pi, insert your USB dongle, power up your Cyton board, and begin biosensing.

You can use the web browser interface to connect the Pi as a client on your lab Wi-Fi network. The Pi will automatically switch back to access point mode when it is out of range of known Wi-Fi networks, so you will always be able to connect to it no matter where you power it up.

More details about the Pi Wi-Fi Control daemon and how the Pi is setup to switch between access point mode and joining your local WiFi network can be found in the document here.

The brainHat mobile application for Android is currently on the Play store for beta testers. If you are interested in using the brainHat system and joining the beta testers group, please contact us.

The brainHat Viewer application is a useful tool to help you get the most out of the brainHat system. It is capable of showing real time data from a brainHat server as well as opening and playing back recording files from your field trips. You can view the raw data, or you can apply your own customized filters.

You can download the brainHat Viewer setup.exe from our public folder here.

The code for this project is available on GitHub:

There is a document describing the brainHat system in more detail here.

See our other posts for more information about the:

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