We looked at a product called the MindWave a year ago. The device was a low-cost way to get a glimpse of the electrical activities of the brain. NeuroSky managed to take decades of laboratory brainwave technology and squeeze it into a headset that anyone can use, and for under $100! A year later, they have improved it by eliminating the need for the proprietary USB dongle.
The newest headset, the NeuroSky MindWave Mobile, is now Bluetooth enabled. This means that any device (iPhone, iPad, etc) that supports the Bluetooth communication protocol can potentially work with the MindWave. This is absolutely the right decision by NeuroSky. It gives the users more flexibility: no need to decide whether to buy the Mac, PC, iOS, or Android version. It may also entice more developers to create software for the device because there is now a bigger potential market.
Externally, the MindWave Mobile, with the exception of its color, appears just like the older MindWave. The only difference is that the On/Off switch has one more position for activating the Bluetooth Connect mode. The adjustable head band, AAA battery compartment, and sensor contact are exactly the same.
NeuroSky has taken a huge step in making EEG gear usable by the average person by making the MindWave wireless. By freeing the device from a proprietary USB dongle, it means we no longer have to be in front of the computer to use it. The potential of the MindWave Mobile has now been greatly expanded. No, we don’t think we will see anyone walking down the street sporting one on their head (just yet), but we do like the idea that we can now relax on the couch with the headset…and a MindWave app.
While there in not yet a lot of apps in the App Store written for this new head, we would expect that to change in the not too distant future. At present, new users can get familiar with the headset with a free iPhone app (no iPad version) from NeuroSky. Setup for the app is very simple:
- Enable Bluetooth on the iPhone
- Connect the iPhone and the headset (Code: 0000)
- Launch the MindWave app
- Adjust the forehead sensor for max signal strength
We thought the MindWave we looked at last September showed a lot of promise for users interested in bio-feedback training. Now that NeuroSky has freed it from the desktop, we will be eager to see where things go from here.