Open-Source Kit Will Let Anyone Use Their Brain Waves As Data

Open-Source Kit Will Let Anyone Use Their Brain Waves As Data

OpenBCI make EEG equipment accessible to any skill level.

Ross Brooks
  • 16 december 2013

OpenBCI is a low-cost, programmable, open-source EEG platform that gives anybody with a computer access to their brainwaves. The project wants to accelerate innovation in brain science through collaborative hardware and software development, and already has a growing community of scientists, engineers, designers, makers, and more behind it.

Brain-computer interfacing (BCI) is a relatively new field of science, but the potential applications are seemingly endless. Medical grade BCIs are often used in assisting people with damage to their cognitive or sensory-motor functions, while more recent applications have been able to assist people with ADHD, anxiety, phobia, depression, and other common psychological ailments.


OpenBCI is an 8-channel, low-noise, 24-bit analog-to-digital converter designed specifically for measuring “teeny-tiny” EEG signals. It has lots of bells and whistles according to the company, such as the ability to generate internal signals for testing and calibration, as well as EEG-specific functions like lead off detection, which ensures electrodes are making good contact with the subject. Anyone with an electrical engineering background is more than welcome to check out the datasheet.


Research-grade EEG equipment is known to be very cumbersome and very expensive, and the leading commercial brain-computer interface companies distribute fixed devices with limited or closed access to the algorithms that translate raw EEG signals into meaningful data. OpenBCI on the other hand, is totally transparent, plus it’s powered by an open-source community of hardware and software builders, making it accessible to creators of any skill level and ideal for researchers who modify their system design to suit a specific study.



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