When Gizmag wrote about OpenBCI, a brain-computer interface system with open-source software, the company was waiting to announce an EEG headset it claimed would be entirely new. A few days later, the OpenBCI board is fully funded and we’ve seen how the team will implement a customizable and modular 3D-printed headset with open-source availability. The design not only showcases the utility of 3D printing, but more importantly demonstrates the company’s commitment to creating an open community around their product.

The project has the working name “Spider Claw” (though privately I refer to it as "BorgEEG"). It solves many of the problems with traditional EEG headsets, such as fixed electrode positions and a one-size-fits-all approach, or the alternative hassle of not using a headset and dealing with a headful of tangled electrodes.

The design begins with a web interface that lets users input head measurements and desired electrode placement, and receive a 3D model generated on the fly.

Modular pieces snap together into different configurations and incorporate three different headset arms. With these arms, users can choose to space electrodes across the head generally or focus multiple electrodes in specific sensing regions, depending on their goals.

The OpenBCI electronics board slots neatly into the back of the headset and there’s also space for a battery, physically freeing the user from attaching sensors elsewhere.

At the time of publishing, OpenBCI was in the process of printing its first prototype, with the MakerBot file shown below.

A new Kickstarter stretch goal will add accelerometers to every board should the campaign reach US$150,000 in pledged funds. Accelerometers allow for more accurate data collection by reducing artifacts and are also used for purposes like REM detection.

The files for the Spider Claw headset will be published to OpenBCI’s GitHub.

While code for the OpenBCI board is already available on GitHub as well, obtaining the OpenBCI board requires a Kickstarter donation. The campaign is now fully funded, but potential supporters have until January 22 to make a pledge.

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