Your Brain on Water: Using Mobile EEG tech around the world
Posted on Jul 9th, 2014
The book Blue Mind opens on a pier on North Carolina's Outer Banks, one of Dr. Steve Sands' EEG caps strapped on my head and the ocean all around.
Nowadays EEG's have moved from the lab to the field and these days companies like NeuroSky, eMotiv and Muse are making it even more wearable, portable, and even fashionable-ish.
(think Google Glass for your brain, rather than your eyes)
The fast growing "Life Hacker" and "Quantified Self" movement is resulting in increasing demand for data about ourselves that we can use.
These new mobile EEG technologies use bluetooth to connect to your smartphone or laptop and monitor basic brain function with increasing accuracy as the technology and algorithms get incrementally better at filtering noise.
The devices are far from perfect and certainly don't replace the research grade technology used in labs and medical centers, but to me they are absolutely fascinating. Used by gamers around the world, they are increasingly being employed for more serious purposes, show up in peer reviewed studies, and are now part of my standard travel kit.
And so far I've taken my mobile units (single sensor NeuroSky MindWave and 14 sensor EMOTIV EPOC) to "play" at the edges of some of the world's most interesting waters.
-Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences (one of my fav places to people watch as people come into the "blue space")
-Mill Creek, the creek in my back yard
-the Golden Gate Bridge
-the wild edge of the Pacific Ocean
-Baja and Michoacan, Mexico
Deer Isle, Maine
-Black Sea, Bulgaria
-riverside in Austin, Texas
-fountainside in Atlanta, Georgia
-Biosphere 2 Ocean in Oracle, Arizona
-Monterey Bay Aquarium
-crossing the English Channel
-the River Thames
-the River Seine
Our friend Fabien Cousteau even had a Muse EEG headband with his Mission 31 Team as they spent a month living beneath the ocean.
Not unexpectedly, our "brains on water" are calm and sometimes focused. Mostly "Blue Mind" with occasional "Red Mind" as conditions changed rapidly (and dangerously) from time to time.
Studies suggest that a walk in nature ("green space") is good for your brain. But when water is added "good" gets "great".