Brainwave monitoring systems have been widely used for decades in clinical applications such as epilepsy diagnosis, depth of anaesthesia monitoring or to indirectly measure cerebral perfusion in some surgical procedures. In the last few years, concurring with advances in neuroscience research, such monitoring systems are readily becoming invaluable tools for applications which are not just clinical, ranging from fundamental brain research to consumer electronics. The electrical signals from the neurons in the brain can be directly sensed from the brain itself, either through surface electrodes (electrocorticography (ECoG )); deeper needle electrodes (neural recordings); or with electrodes placed on the scalp (electroencephalography (EEG)). The most important advantage of EEG is that it is a non-invasive technique. ECoG is considered minimally invasive and neural recordings very invasive. However, the last two modalities offer important advantages over EEG, which are ultimately the reasons why they are used: signals can be over an order of magnitude stronger; they are less affected by different kind of interference and artefacts; the more invasive the technique is, the higher the spatial and time resolutions.
In the Wearable Technologies Lab, we carry out research work leading to miniaturize and improve the performance of all of these systems, i.e. EEG, ECoG and neural interfaces. Our main aim is to be able to carry out neuroscience research, together with our collaborators, on diseases such as Parkinson and dementia, that cannot be done with existing brain monitoring systems.