Our lifestyle changes
Anxiety and depression nationwide have hit an all-time high since the start of pandemic. Information overload is destroying our psyche. Our bodies and minds are not fit in the new world we live in. Some people find it hard to sleep during the night and hard to focus during the day.
Your breathing, heart rate, sleep, and several nervous system reactions all happen and adapt to the situation without consciousness. In a similar way, NeuroWay enhances your ability to reach a certain state of mind without you even noticing it. Neuroway uses an EEG monitoring device to detect your brainwaves and used that to personalize and enhance your ability to reach a certain state of frequencies by generating binaural beats.
How we built it
We built NeuroWay using a combination of hardware and software components all tied together in one platform. Equipment used: EEG Sensors - Emotiv Insight Kit ECG Sensors - M5Stack ECG Module 13.2 AD8232 Bluetooth Enabled Wireless Sleeping Mask Bone conduction transducers (not deployed)
Software used: Emotiv BrainViz Emotiv BCI interface Emotiv Cortex v2 Arduino IDE React Next.js Firebase Firestore Firebase Auth Tailwindcss Vercel GCP cloud-functions webpack
The first part of the onboarding process with NeuroWay is to connect to the Emotiv BCI interface along with the NeuroWay headband via bluetooth. Then, the user can pick their optimal desired program – sleep, deep relaxation, focus – they desire. Once they pick their program of choice, the user is taken to the Ads page to watch a short 15 minute video composed of multiple ads. While the user is listening and watching the ads, we are tracking their brain waves to track which parts of their brain is lighting up/getting excited. We can effectively rank the ads based on the user’s brain wave activity in response to the Ad stimuli. If the user wishes to skip the ads and proceed directly to the calibration for their binaural beats, they can pay a price of 150 Stellar Lumens (XLM). Once on the calibration page, the user will be presented with a short 3 minute - 6 minute clip of the binaural beats associated with their aforementioned desired program. We iteratively loop through all the binaural beats frequencies to optimize the frequency of the beats based on their brain activity. We track both the EEG and ECG data to algorithmically determine the personalized frequencies for the music.
NeuroWay works to determine the optimal sound frequencies at which a person becomes sleepy or falls asleep; the frequencies at which a person is able to relax and frequencies at which a person becomes alert and focused. We use a set of algorithmically generated binaural tones which are played with an interleaved manner, while connected to the EEG and ECG monitors. The data from these devices show us the various effects these auditory stimuli have on a person’s brain function, and the corresponding effect.
Challenges we ran into
Many challenges! We tested this on ourselves (VERY BAD IDEA) before we finalized the frequency ranges and algorithm, and inadvertently caused us all to have headaches, dizziness and in one case a person heard ringing and disembodied voices. The research into this field has shown that there are almost no large scale human trials for this technology and our adverse experiences enlightened us to this conundrum. Eventually we were able to finalize a relatively safer approach and tested the algorithm again with much more ideal results.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to actually alter moods, consciousness states/levels and alertness/focus parameters with our approach. This has a very good potential of becoming publishable work and quite possibly a tech venture.
What we learned
We did significant amounts of background research into this topic, and the concept of using sound to influence brain activity was a fascinating concept as well as a challenge. We quickly discovered the pitfalls of researching in this field, by exposing ourselves to actual mental trauma/injury and therefore we relearned the importance of proper safeguards and cautionary approaches while dealing with human-centric processes. Most of all, we did learn that our project has strong scientific backing in academic literature and that we can potentially develop a viable solution for the large population who have issues with stress, sleep, focus and overall mental wellness and mental health.
What's next for NeuroWay
Our primary goal for NeuroWay is to productize our service. We aim to productize NeuroWay to be the next 23andMe for brain wave analysis.
1: Roginska, Agnieszka, and Paul Geluso, eds. Immersive sound: The art and science of binaural and multi-channel audio. Taylor & Francis, 2017.
2: Blauert, Jens, ed. The technology of binaural listening. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.
3: Walton, Tim. "The overall listening experience of binaural audio." Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Spatial Audio (ICSA), Graz, Austria. 2017.
4: Crespo, Adela, et al. "Effect of binaural stimulation on attention and EEG." Archives of Acoustics 38.4 (2013): 517-528.
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6: On, F. R., et al. "Binaural beat effect on brainwaves based on EEG." 2013 IEEE 9th International Colloquium on Signal Processing and its Applications. IEEE, 2013.
7: Moridis, Christos N., et al. "The impact of audio-visual stimulation on alpha brain oscillations: An EEG study." Proceedings of the 10th IEEE International Conference on Information Technology and Applications in Biomedicine. IEEE, 2010.