As an electrical engineering undergraduates , we have to chose a graduation project at the end of our 5-years studying , something we can use our knowledge in it
We were thinking , me and my colleague Emad , we want something that really good , new , and have an intersection with smart phones , because they lead the wave these days
And between multiple ideas , Brain Waves subject was the choice , something that really interesting , new , and we believe that it have a great future , what about smart phones ?! ok , instead of using PCs for processing brain data , we will use the power of mobile phones processors !
Our goal was to send brain waves to the smart phone , analyse them , show them , then use triggers to fire events
openBCI , Android , and fewer time
Maybe it’s clear why using Android to do projects , as an open source system it will be easier to build projects , even the complicated ones
For the hardware , at the first we were trying to make the hardware by ourselves , so we were looking for components , that have the needed accurate and specifications , after a while we just asked ourselves , what is our goal ? is it to build the brain hardware that already built ? or the mobile app that dealing with these waves and making something new ?! so we decide to start where the others have ended , and buy the hardware
But why openBCI ? we were looking for a product that give us a full access for everything , full access to the data , to the hardware , and to the software that including inside that hardware ! of course there were another reasons of why we chose it , but this was our main one , and later in this post we will till you how this helped us a lot
After running some time searching choosing and buying , we feel that there is a little time left for us , moreover , we have another objects to study in the university , so we don’t have that much time
The first challenge was to connect the openBCI to the mobile phone directly , without using the PC , the bluetooth on the hardware have a switch between PC and BLE (bluetooth low energy) , we discovered later that this switch is not implemented , so we have to do something about that , we add our own bluetooth , with a small modification on the software inside the openBCI hardware !
We added a simple bluetooth module (HC-06) , connected it to the free pins on the openBCI hardware , we increase the baud rate of the bluetooth module to get the suitable speed rate , and we did a small software modification inside the openBCI , we defined a software serial on the pins that connected to the new bluetooth module , and after the openBCI send the data to the PC , we put a code to send the data to the new bluetooth module too , now when ever the hardware send the data to the PC , it will send it to the new bluetooth module too , that can be easily connected to our Android app
In the mobile phone side , using Flash with AS3 we build a mobile app that connect to the hardware using bluetooth , taking the data , doing some calculations and filtration , then it shows the data in a graph , with an interface to control almost everything , like the PC software
For the trigger part , we were trying to do some EEG triggers , but since we don’t have much time , we started with EMG , it’s much easier to be detected , and yes , eye blinking , three blinks per two seconds will trigger a function that play or stop a music file
Now even that it seems simple mobile app , and just doing a small job on the mobile phone , everything else almost is done before , training and detecting EEG waves , and making another triggers , it’s an old things already done on the PC , so we stopped there and put our efforts on the documentation (as a graduation project) and of course for out other objects in the semester
A small video ..
Enjoy this video , it will show you our final product , with some explaining for the work , there is an english subtitle , hope you enjoy it 🙂
Now , and after a month from our graduation , everyone continues his life , we are doing our training part in normal electrical sectors , it was a great experience and full of new things to deal with
For the brain waves , in our opinion , we don’t think that it’s ready for the commercial use , it will need some time of development and research , two years , less or more , but for now it’s only usable for maybe the disabled , or some special situations
We think that when it’s come , it will lead everything ! after the mobile phones , it seems that wearable devices is the next waves , and we think that brain waves controlling is the next one , so it’s really important for everyone who care to have a part from the future to work on these waves from now
And maybe it’s valuable to say , that we have a good (and maybe commercial) idea of using EMG waves in real and stable situation , maybe if we have a time and some guidance we will work on that , up to that time , enjoy your brain waves 😀