Mind-Measuring VR: Modified Technology to Track Brain Activity

Mind-Measuring VR: Modified Technology to Track Brain Activity
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Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a modified commercial virtual reality (VR) headset that can measure brain activity through a noninvasive electroencephalogram (EEG) sensor.

This innovative technology allows the researchers to examine how individuals react to hints, stressors, and other external stimuli during immersive VR interactions.

The EEG sensor, installed in the Meta VR headset, comfortably measures the brain’s electrical activity while users engage in VR experiences.

Mind-Measuring VR: Modified Technology to Track Brain Activity

This development has various potential applications, such as helping people with anxiety, assessing attention and mental stress in aviators using flight simulators, and even providing a human’s perspective from a robot’s eyes.

Traditional EEG devices, consisting of a cap with electrodes, do not work well with VR headsets due to interference from hair, and they may also cause discomfort.

In this project, the research team overcame these issues by creating a spongy electrode made of soft, conductive materials. The modified VR headset features these electrodes along the top strap and forehead pad, a flexible circuit with conductive traces, and an EEG recording device at the back of the headset.

The researchers designed a driving simulation game to test the viability of the VR EEG headset. Users played the game and pressed a button to react to turn commands while the EEG measured their brain activity.

This data helped determine how closely the subjects were paying attention during the driving simulation.

The researchers believe that this technology has numerous potential applications, including assisting in the study of human-robot interactions in a new robot delivery network project at UT Austin. 

The VR headsets will enable people to observe and experience the robot’s perspective while also measuring the mental load of the observation over extended periods.

The researchers have filed preliminary patent paperwork for the EEG technology and are open to collaborating with VR companies to create a built-in version of the system.

Overall, the pairing of VR and EEG sensors offers a more immersive and comfortable experience for users and opens up new possibilities for research and practical applications in various fields.

Mind-Measuring VR: Modified Technology to Track Brain Activity

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