Conor Russomanno and Joel Murphy have a dream: They want to create an open-source brain scanner that you can print out at home, strap onto your head, and hook straight into your brainwaves.
This past week, they printed their first headset prototype on a 3-D printer, and WIRED has the first photos.
Bootstrapped with a little funding help from DARPA — the research arm of the Department of Defense — the device is known as OpenBCI. It includes sensors and a mini-computer that plugs into sensors on a black skull-grabbing piece of plastic called the “Spider Claw 3000,” which you print out on a 3-D printer. Put it all together, and it operates as a low-cost electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave scanner that connects to your PC.
High-grade EEG machines — the kind you’d find in a laboratory — will set you back thousands of dollars. But over the past few years, cheaper models made by companies such as Emotiv and this promises a new era of do-it-yourself brain hackers who take these devices out of the lab, using brainwaves to experiment with games, computer interfaces, personal tracking tools, and self-directed mind enhancement.
But Russomanno and Murphy felt the community needed a completely open-source platform if it was truly going to take off. So they created OpenBCI. You can download the software that powers the headset from GitHub, the popular code sharing site. To build your own system, you buy the hardware from OpenBCI and then download, tweak, and print out the 3D headset….
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