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OpenBCI with Android as graduation project

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

the idea


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


Working ..

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

bluetooth module with openBCI

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 🙂



Future ..

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 😀


One Comment


do you have a link to the code you used for this project?


any suggestion on how to use the data from the headset as input like you did for playing and stopping the music.

thank you

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