Building a neurofeedback setup at home as a lay-person?

Hi there. I read about neurofeedback for the first time just a few days ago and have been researching it a lot since. I'd love to try it, but the only option available to me locally is very expensive. And so I've been investigating whether I can do it more affordably by setting up a home system and perhaps liaising with a professional to help me with protocol design and such.

So far the option I've found that seems most appropriate for me is the brain-trainer.com system as it's quite beginner-friendly with their online learning courses and the option of online supervision while setting up and using the equipment.

Has anyone any advice for setting up a home system, including recommendations on equipment? It'd be great if I could put something together for under $2k or $3k. Are there good options out there besides brain-trainer for someone like me? I have no background in this area but I've been reading 'Getting Started with EEG Neurofeedback' by John Demos and haven't yet been bowled over by the technical knowledge in it, so perhaps setting up and operating some of the equipment on my own would be possible. Of course I'd have to be careful not to go out of my depth, I know we're dealing with rewiring the brain here.

Perhaps the OpenBCI Ganglion could be an option for me? It's much more affordable than any other 4 channel amplifier I've seen. I would have no idea how to set it up, though.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Tom

Comments

  • wjcroftwjcroft Mount Shasta, CA

    Tom, hi.

    As far as I know, Pete van Deusen at Brain-Trainer supports the Ganglion as an option for their training. It's not listed on their site, but the underlying BioEra package that implements the protocols, does support both Ganglion and Cyton.

    So your best bet at this time is really with Brain-Trainer, as there are many years of expertise behind that platform. I believe there are low cost intro packages that minimize the cost. Such as the 'Basic' or 'for BioEra' packages listed on this page:

    https://brain-trainer.com/shop/products/software/

    Here are the supported BioEra devices:

    http://www.proatech.com/be/manual.html#_Toc81672754

    Tutorials on Ganglion setup:

    https://docs.openbci.com/GettingStarted/Boards/GanglionGS/

    Regards, William

  • wjcroftwjcroft Mount Shasta, CA

    Note that the "TQ7 Trainer’s Q with Auto Plan" listed on their page, requires using the Q-Wiz device and will not work with OpenBCI. The Q-Wiz has a special plug that accesses all 20 channels (4 at a time) of the cap Pete uses (either saline or gel based.)

    I've used his Bioexplorer based system in the past, and it can be used with lower channel amplifiers with only 2 or 4 channels. In that era, you could do a self assessment 2 or 4 channels at a time, then get assistance on protocol selection from a staff member. I don't know if this is currently an option with the BioEra based packages. Suggest you speak to a customer support agent at Brain-Trainer. Bioexplorer does NOT work with OpenBCI currently. But BioEra does.

    The TQ7 they mention is an automated system, that works off of the assessment data you gather, then selects a protocol automatically. But it is quite pricey, given all the additional stuff required. I think Brain-Trainer still supports users with less elaborate equipment. At least I hope so.

    William

  • William,

    Thank you sincerely for your in-depth replies. The Brain Trainer system does seem like the best option for someone like me, I hear over and over that their online guidance is excellent.

    After consideration I'm leaning towards getting one of their recommended amplifiers like the Neurobit Optima + 4. I don't plan to purchase the TQ7 facility but it'd be nice to have the option to later on if I change my mind.

    Thanks again for your candid advice.
    Tom

  • kelpelkelpel Melbourne, Australia

    Hi Tom,
    Just wondering if you went ahead with the Brain Trainer system?
    Cheers,
    Kelly

  • Tom91Tom91 Ireland

    Hey Kelly, I did, but I haven't started properly using it yet so I can't offer any meaningful review unfortunately.

  • On the software side, I have been using Neuromore Studio. It's not perfect but seemed the best FOSS option out there. [email protected] is really the only other competitor. This is from the guys behind the FreeEEG32, and is under active development right now.

    I started out using this and a Muse 2 headband I got on facebook marketplace for £40. The feedback value I plug into my Wayland compositor, so that I can watch TV, youtube, etc., and Neuromore controls the brightness of the screen and the audio volume via OSC. I mean to tidy all this and get it uploaded as that's actually been the largest programming effort.

    Overall this pipeline has had some effect, subtle at times, but then this hardware is restricted (frontal lobes really not much use). Designing the protocols is one thing that takes some time. I am hoping to commit some code that will allow exporting these to file; will have to see how much time I have. If I do then I will make efforts to share them, and better yet, find a software-agnostic description language that can be used for protocol specification.

    Obviously don't know what you're looking to train for, but Sebern Fisher's book is worth a read, if you ever "go sailing".

  • kelpelkelpel Melbourne, Australia

    Thanks Stellarpower.
    I found this tutorial: https://openbci.com/community/build-your-own-neurofeedback-game-with-openbci/ He uses Neuromore as well. This seems similar to Neurofeedback that I had with a psychologist. It seemed to improve my sleep. I was hoping to find/make something similar for providing feedback during meditation. I was definitely concerned about the protocols; how they are determined and set with Neuromore. I'm definitely a laymen, though I do have coding experience. Would Sebern Fisher's book help with that? Also, what hardware do you think is decent enough without being overkill?
    @Tom - keep us posted. :)

  • Afraid I don't have enough experience to advise much on what is good or the minimal setup you need, as I'm finding this out myself. I can only really advise on what I have done at this stage. Same with hardware, as I type I'm trying to get a signal from my OpenBCI, having previously only been able to use a Muse band.

    On the protocol front, I have done the basic rewarding alpha, inhibiting delta, and also trying to lower dominant frequency. I believe latency is quite important, and that looking at the relative amplitude of a frequency band against the power of the whole signal has given better results.

    Sebern's book covers things from more of a therapeutic angle - she uses the Eeger system and it doesn't really go over how to implement anything.

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