Open Source Brain-Computer Interface with Raspberry Pi

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Brain-computer interfaces may sound futuristic, but they are now a reality. To detect and interpret electrical activity in the human brain so that it may be utilised to control a computer, a variety of approaches are used to accomplish that. Normally, this is the domain of university research departments and places like Google Labs, but Ildar Rakhmatulin and Sebastian Volkl advocate utilising a Raspberry Pi instead of hyper-expensive equipment in an article on the arXiv open access server.

Rakhmatulin studies BCIs at Russia’s South Ural State University, and Volkl works in the disciplines of AI and neural networks. He previously created a laser turret for shooting down mosquitos using a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and camera. They banded together to form hackerBCI, a platform that attempts to make neuroscience projects and research more accessible.

PiEEG, a Raspberry Pi project, uses C, C++, and Python to read up to eight real-time electroencephalography (EEG) signals collected from the brain by electrodes put in the subject’s cap. The pair has shared use cases on GitHub, including controlling robots and drones. One of the potential applications is the control of exoskeletons.

The PiEEG board is shown as a HAT (a Pi 4 can also be used) and connected via the GPIO pins to a Raspberry Pi 3 (judging by the full-size HDMI connection). There are some strict conditions to meet before it will operate, including isolation from mains power noise, but happily, there is plenty of open-source signal processing software available, which is stated in the study.

If you’re interested in using your Raspberry Pi to read your brain signals, hackerBCI will shortly begin crowdfunding the PiEEG.

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