Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The hair brush that reads your mind

Date:
October 19, 2010
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
One of the main techniques for measuring and monitoring mental activity, called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), can often be impaired because a person's hair gets in the way. But now, thanks to a team of researchers, a novel device called a "brush optrode" is providing increased sensitivity with fiber tips designed to thread through hair to enhance scalp contact.

One of the main techniques for measuring and monitoring mental activity, called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), can often be impaired because a person's hair gets in the way. But now, thanks to a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington, a novel device called a "brush optrode" is providing increased sensitivity with fiber tips designed to thread through hair to enhance scalp contact.

Related Articles


Details of the device will be presented at the Optical Society's (OSA) 94th annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y., from Oct. 24-28.

fNIRS is a noninvasive optical technique that measures oxygen levels in the brain to chart neurological activity. The difference between oxygenated hemoglobin and deoxygenated hemoglobin can be used as a correlate of brain activity. Using fNIRS, this difference in blood oxygen level is determined using a relative spectroscopic measurement at two near infrared wavelengths.

"Using light to measure a person's thinking pattern has numerous advantages over EEGs, including ease of use, reliability, cost, portability and MRI compatibility," says Duncan MacFarlane, professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"The conventional fibers used in fNIRS systems terminate in a large, flat bundle, and it is easy for a patient's hair to get in the way and block the signal," he explains. "So we developed a new tip for the fNIRS fibers -- a brush optrode that slides the fibers between the hair follicles. Signal levels increase 3- to 5-fold, and patients report that the brush optrode is considerably more comfortable than the conventional fiber ends. And the brush optrode is easier to set up, which saves time and money."

This research is expected to open the door to portable, easy-to-use, high-density optical scanning of brain activity. For example, the University of Texas researchers' work focuses on the imaging of changes in cortical plasticity as a function of impairment severity in children with cerebral palsy. According to Georgios Alexandrakis, a member of the UT Arlington research team, the newly developed optrodes could also be potentially useful to a variety of fNIRS projects, including the evaluation of recovery from stroke, changes in brain activity in Alzheimer's patients, the perception of pain, and for assessing developmental changes in normal and impaired pediatric populations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "The hair brush that reads your mind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101019152616.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2010, October 19). The hair brush that reads your mind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101019152616.htm
Optical Society of America. "The hair brush that reads your mind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101019152616.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins