>Stanley Yang

>Mind-Machine Interface: It's the Thought that Counts
>Stanley Yang is CEO of NeuroSky, a San Jose based startup developing
>technology that monitors a person's brain waves and uses the signals as
>inputs to control the action in video games and other applications.
>NeuroSky's system prototype uses a low cost sensor-laden headband
>to gather signals from the brain and a special processing chip to interpret
>the signals.

>Stanley will describe the technology behind the mind-machine interface
>and discuss the broad range of possible applications, such as entertainment
>and driving safety systems, that NeuroSky is targeting.


Stanley began his talk by saying he had spent the whole day fielding questions about his companies technology yesterday. NPR had done a segment on the company, so he should be ready for any questions that might come up. He is also proud that NeuroSky got a "Best of Show" award at Stanford's Cool Stuff Expo, when kids had been lined up steadily to try it out.

Then Stanley explained that NeuroSky's product is a headset with a single dry sensor (no gels) that touches the wearer's skin on the forehead, two ground contacts near the ears,
and a chip that sorts the five microvolt signals the human brain puts out from the ambient noise that is all around us. This signal is then fed into a computer via a USB cable, where it can be interpreted in any way that a user's application needs. He showed us an FFT plot of the signal response of NeuroSky's headset side by side with that of a laboratory quality sensor. We could see that the plots were similar, but the professional model had a slight signal response advantage. Stanley explained that NeuroSky's advantage was that it was easy to put on and the connections were dry, a major convenience enhancement.

Then Johnny demonstrated the product. It was a headband with two metal dots about two-thirds the size of a dime built in above the eyes, and a couple more hanging down the back that he taped to the skin under his ears. There was also a box that looked like a battery pack at the back, and a computer cable coming out. He plugged that into his laptop and brought up a display where meters were able to track anxiety, relaxation, and attention. A couple of members of the audience also tried it. The one who had been meditating for seven years was able to peg the relaxation meter, and the other one had trouble not having the attention meter high.

Stanley explained that NeuroSky's business model involved just selling the sensor setup, and leaving the applications to other people. At this point he is working with videvideo game companies that want to sell a user unit for about $49.95 to add more three dimensional qualities to games. Also in the works are safety applications like a headset for garment workers that will turn off their sewing machine if they start getting sleepy. He knew of many people who wouldn't have sewn their thumbs if such equipment had been there for them. There are similar opportunities to protect truck drivers. Other customers are looking into lie detector, airport security, and military type applications. He is optimistic about the future.

During Q&A the following were discussed:

If somebody thinks of a color, it creates the same waveform pattern, regardless of the culture or language that person uses.

One relm of applications for the product is helping train people with ADD on how to relax. Today such people have to go into a doctor's office to get feedback training. There they have a nurse rub salve on their skin and glue instrumentation in place. NeuroSky's technology is much more convienient, and it does almost as good a job. This makes home based self study an option.

Most of the proprietary advantages of NeuroSky's come from the circuits in the chips that amplify the brain signal and seperate it from ambient noise.

Tian Harter