A research group at Keio University, led by Associate Professor Yasue Mitsukura, has developed a simple brain-wave meter. This can identify, in real time, whether a person is showing interest, concentration, desire, stress, or sleepiness.
“The main feature of this device is that it measures and displays brain waves in real time. So it can measure how sleepy or aversive you are right now, and how much you’re concentrating.”
By measuring brain waves only at a position known as FP1, where emotions are apparently expressed, the Keio group has achieved a much simpler brain-wave meter.
The researchers have also taken a very different approach to analyzing brain waves.
“Previously, it was said that if you produced a lot of theta waves, you were sleepy, and if you produced a lot of alpha waves, you were relaxed. But with our method, the key point is which frequencies are most intense. For example, 11 Hz and 17 Hz are important frequencies for sleepiness.”
The key to this research is defining the brain’s state through combinations of single frequencies and using an algorithm developed by the group.
The researchers are using this device to develop applications for visualizing sleepiness, concentration, and stress. Such applications are expected to have many uses.
“Until now, brain-wave records were stored, and then analyzed. For example, when a TV commercial was aired, researchers found out which parts mattered to viewers afterwards. But with this system, you can see which parts viewers don’t like right away, in real time. That’s the main advantage of this system.”
“We’re currently doing R&D; on futuristic communication, for example, a cellphone that could text what you’re thinking.”