Where did I get the chutzpah to even consider making my own EEG device? While rummaging around on the internet, I found an 2010 blog post by an ITP alum who hacked the Mindflex—a game by Mattel—because the data-parsing chip was by Neurosky, a brand I recognized while window-shopping for consumer-grade EEG devices. I had ordered a couple of these Mindflex headsets off eBay and was hoarding them in my locker until I felt comfortable enough with my pcomp-ing abilities to break them open.
Luckily, I’d been able to rope the brilliant Barak Chamo onto this project, so it basically felt like I could do anything. On our first official team meeting, we broke open the packages:
And then it was time to work on disassembly. We wanted to go further with the deconstruction than our ITP predecessor, and found guidance in this teardown.
We couldn’t believe how comically simple this headset was, particularly this sad excuse for an electrode:
But this realization was as empowering as it was hilarious. Obviously, we could do better than a piece of conductive fabric.
Emboldened, we took the teardown a step further by completely desoldering the Neurosky chip from the Mindflex’s microcontroller.
And by some miracle, it still worked! We were able to get serial data from the naked chip. So I got to work on the p5 visualization: