12 Mar 2017

EEG is my specialist area, so it’s funny it’s taken this long for us to do an EEG comic.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a way of detecting electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp. It’s been used in neuroscience research for over 100 years, adapting and improving with technology to increase sampling rate, reduce electrical interference and become smaller and more mobile.

Unfortunately, research grade EEG equipment is still incredibly expensive, setting you back tens of thousands of dollars. But as neuroscience research has become more well known, cut-price commercial versions are being marketed as the latest technology for gaming, sleep, relaxation and communication. They’re designed to look a bit cooler than the research ones, so the popular designs use minimal electrodes fitted to a solid band.

Since most of these use one or two electrodes primarily on the forehead, they’re much more likely detecting blinks, eye movements and facial muscles than anything in your brain. To be fair to these companies though, they say they pick up concentration, relaxation and stress, and I know my eyebrows probably move to different places for each of those.

I’d love to think that in the future we could all be walking around with brain-reading devices. But if that happens I don’t think it’ll look anything like EEG.


↓ Transcript
Panel 1.
Dr Mad: What are you wearing?
Prof Panda: Do you like them? They're EEG powered robotic cat ears! They translate my brain waves into physical movements! Watch!

Panels 2 - 7.
SFX: Boop Boop
Flap Flap Flap Flap Flap Flap Flap Flap

Panel 8.
Dr Mad: Frankly sir, I find that highly offensive to cats AND neuroscience!

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