Children that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) essentially have a hard time explaining their situation and the cause of their distraction to the physicians and so often they prescribe medicines to help in counter-acting symptoms and not to better understand the cause of the
Agent Unicorn, a unicorn-horn-shaped headpiece for autistic children which uses the Unicorn Brain Interface to measure brain activity. Inside the unicorn horn there is a little camera which captures the children’s environment. The headpiece should help to find out what might trigger them and give a better understanding of their individual distractions. It is also a very playful device and has been realized with Unicorn Simulink Interface. The Unicorn Simulink Interface allows you to read recorded data into Simulink and to perform real-time processing.
There is a big lack on the market of high-quality BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) systems that provide real BCI control with high accuracy and which are affordable for end users. Furthermore, many people never were in contact with BCI systems and don’t know how to use this technology effectively. The Unicorn Brain Interface fulfills this gap and offers high-quality brain wave recordings and applications that match with high accuracy.
Center-stage is the headpiece, which incorporates an EEG (stands for electroencephalography, referring to the use of devices to measure the brain’s electrical activity).
The device, dubbed Agent Unicorn, picks up the neural signature of attention, P300. With EEG, electrical signals are recorded by sensors attached on the human scalp to detect brain activities.
How does the headpiece work? It has a projecting horn (inspiration for its Agent Unicorn name) carrying an 8-megapixel camera. The camera records video during states of heightened P300 activity, as detected by EEG built into the headpiece. Specifically, the camera captures video that is transmitted to a computer when the EEG detects, via electrodes, a particular type of brain wave associated with attention.
The headpiece is especially interesting because of its design and the very designer behind it, Anouk Wipprecht. She wanted to take the exercise of assessing ADHD into a more natural environment reflecting not the white lab coat’s world but the child’s world as the main setting.
P300 is nothing new to researchers who know it as a voltage pulse, and often connected to decision making. How is it useful in ADHD research? “The P300 signal is often measured when diagnosing children with ADHD,” she wrote, “because the signal takes longer to manifest and isn’t as strong as it is in children without ADHD.”
The headpieces have LEDs that flash during P300 events. She said, “This can make a therapist’s job easier by highlighting moments when a child becomes especially attentive.”
The EEG board in the headpiece is connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer. The EEG board can be used without applying conductive gel.
Monitoring in their daily environment would give caregivers a better window on their world. If caregivers can see how the environment affects these children, they would be able to modify the environment to help them with their condition, rather than just administering a stimulant…