You are on page 1of 10

International Journal of Electrical and Electronics

Engineering Research (IJEEER)

ISSN(P): 2250-155X; ISSN(E): 2278-943X
Vol. 4, Issue 6, Dec 2014, 43-52
TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.


Research Scholar, Department of EEE, American International University (AIUB), Bangladesh

The project is focused on the detection and extraction of a brain wave signal with the help of analog as well as
digital circuitry. Using active electrodes on human scalp, the brain signals were fed into a series of hardware and software
stages. Simple conscious movements such as blinking and moving both or either hands caused a change in the detected
waveform. Although the project was not successful in discriminating between different motions or utilizes the signal to
control an electrical device, the team was able to successfully separate and display the alpha waves after filtering off all
associated unwanted signals.

KEYWORDS: Brain Wave, Electroencephalography (EEG), Arduino, Electrodes, Brain Computer Interface (BCI)
The project is done to build a brain wave controlling device to control electrical devices. It is designed by an
Arduino board, high speed op-amps, microcontroller and general electrical components.
The main objective of this project is to detect the brain signal and operate certain electrical appliances with the
help of any gestures caused by the human body. The project is done to observe human gesture by the palpitation of eye
blinks and detecting the corresponding brain signal.
Alpha wave is detected from the brain signals with the help of the active electrode and the collected data is used to
convert to a digital signal for analysis and control.
In the stimulation of our project, a similar range of frequency which matches the alpha wave was randomly
generated to test the circuit. A signal generator was introduced with a frequency within the range of 8-13 Hz. Responses of
different wave shapes were collected for the test circuit.
Our proposed system could be modified to achieve more advanced goals like using it as a sensor to use in
automated system or to communicate using the brain signals.
There are many benefits to this project. This project is done in order to understand the brain signals and detect
them by using an oscilloscope which will give different signals depending on the test subjects emotional responses and it
can be analyzed. As a result it can show whether a person is tensed, happy or sad. Though this is the initial stage of the
project but it can be upgraded and can be used for advanced applications and thus give us a better understanding of the
complexity of the brain.
Noise Reduction in EEG Signal
The most common method of removing such kind of environmental noise is to remove any unnecessary source of
electromagnetic appliances from the recording room and where possible replace the alternative current (AC) with the direct


Asif Ahmed Anik, Ipseeta Tasana, Saahil Simhad & Riyadh Al Nur

current (DC) [1]. A more advanced and costlier approach in eliminating noise is to use the Faradays cage. In Faradays
cage the charge only resides on its outer surface while inside the conductor charge remains zero. This is because
electrostatic repulsion of the charge causes a redistribution of charge to the outside of a conductor resulting in a net
electrostatic field inside a conductor to be zero. This phenomenon causes any or all noise outside the cage to be completely
cancelled and cannot enter the electrical devices inside the cage. This is also a two way solution, any noise created inside
the cage is prevented from escaping to the outside world [2].
One of the powerful ways of reducing EEG noise is by signal averaging. The key assumption of this method is
noise in the signal is random and our signal of interest is constant. If we record the EEG signal over a number of occasions,
noise at each time point will increase and decrease the signals, but on an average cancels itself out, leaving us the stable
EEG signals.

Figure 1: (i) Driven Right Leg Used for Grounding and Providing a Refernce Point
(ii) The Driven Right Leg Circuit Use Negative Feedback into the Right Leg
Electrode to Reduce the Effective Common-Mode Voltage [3]

EEG Activities
Figure 2 shows 4 seconds of EEG activities recorded at 1 KHz sampling frequency. The muscle contraction noise
is characterized by a burst of high frequency noise and usually disappears after low pass filtering as shown in the figure
2(c). Eye blinking artifacts are the short peak waves with high amplitude, commonly seen at the prefrontal cortex.

Figure 2: (a) Original EEG Signal with 1 Khz Sampling Rate

(b) EEG Signal after High Pass and Down Sampling of 62 Hz
(c) Resulting EEG Signal after Removing the Eyes Artifacts [4]
Impact Factor (JCC): 5.9638

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Brain Wave Pattern Detection

When designing an EEG system, several things need to be addressed in order to acquire a noise-free, amplified
and stable signal. This chapter deals with how the system is designed to meet these requirements as much as possible.
The design is followed by the implementation and resulting waveforms to verify that the circuit is working as per
System Design
The block diagram depicted below shows the overall system with the arrows indicating the direction of signal
flow within the system. The electrodes, which can either be passive or active, gathers signal from the scalp in this case and
passes it into the main circuit which amplifies and filters the signal. To be able to view the signals on a computer monitor,
the signals are passed through an Analog-to-Digital converter connected to a microcontroller which processes the signal for
further use. Each of the individual blocks is described more in detail in the following sections.

Figure 3: Block Diagram Showing the Entire System

In Electroencephalography (EEG) applications, generally there are two types of electrodes active and
passive - used in order to detect brain signals. In active electrodes, the electrodes have built-in circuitry to amplify the
signal as soon as the signal is picked up. This has the advantage that the signal is already amplified before it reaches the
main amplification circuitry. It also has the advantage of not requiring conductive gels or pastes to be put on the scalp
before placing the electrodes. This type of electrode is generally used in consumer grade electronics like the NeuroSky
devices made by NeuroSky, Inc. Even with the inherent advantages of active electrodes, medical applications usually use
passive electrodes. The NeuroSky devices or similar devices use active electrodes but it can be argued that since all the
circuitry is placed into one single encasing which is placed on a users head, it is actually not purely an active electrode
device. Even so, passive electrodes, while requiring conductive gels or pastes, require fewer wires carrying signals to and
from the head especially power signals which might harm the user. The only wires used when using passive electrodes are
to connect the electrodes to the main board containing all the circuitry. Nowadays, passive electrodes already come with
conductive gel on them eliminating the need to put on gels separately before placing them on the scalp.
In this project, both active and passive electrodes were tested to see which of them gave better results. There was
not much difference between the signals acquired by either active or passive electrodes but the passive electrodes were
easier to replace and change. Moreover, they are cheaper than the active ones. Active electrodes are also harder to
construct since the placement of the capacitors around the op-amp is a crucial step. They should be placed as close to the
op-amp as possible for it to have any effect on the circuit.


Asif Ahmed Anik, Ipseeta Tasana, Saahil Simhad & Riyadh Al Nur

Figure 4: A Pair of Passive Electrodes with Conductive Gel Applied.

The Button in the Middle is the Metal Contact

Figure 5: Active Electrodes Used in this Project. The Amplification Circuitry

Can Be Seen Underneath the Array of Metal Contacts

Figure 6: Schematic of the Active Electrode Used in this Project

Amplification and Filtering Board
The first stage of the amplification system uses an instrumentation amplifier to amplify the signal initially whilst
also blocking out any noise in the signal from the electrodes.
To be able to amplify the signal by a factor of 10,000 the second stage of the amplification system uses an
ordinary op-amp circuit. This ordinary op-amp circuit amplifies the signal from the instrumentation amplifier by a factor of
Notch Filter
Notch filters are useful in many applications where specific frequency components must be eliminated.
Instrumentation and recording systems require that the power line frequency of 50 Hz (or 60 Hz depending on the country)
and its harmonics be eliminated.

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.9638

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Brain Wave Pattern Detection

Figure 7: 50 Hz Notch Filter Used to Eliminate Power Line Frequencies in the System

Figure 8: Frequency Response Curve (Bode Plot) of the Notch Filter

The notch filter was designed using Filter Pro by Texas Instruments (refer to Appendix B). This filter is a
Sallen-Key configuration, Chebyshev response notch filter with a gain of 4.34967888427813dB (1.65 V/V) of order 2 with
center frequency at 50 Hz, pass band frequency at 35 Hz and corner frequency attenuation of 4.35dB and quality factor,
Q of 1.429.
Power Supply
With electronics sensitive as this, the power supply needs to be isolated as possible from the mains to reduce the
amount of harmonics in the supply provided to the system. Power was supplied to the system by a 9V power adaptor which
was regulated to 5V using LM7805 regulator. This 5V was fed to a MAX232 chip to produce 8.5V (refer to datasheet in
Appendix C) which was used to bias the instrumentation amplifier to make output swing between 8.5V. A rail splitter
chip, TLE2426 was used to produce the analog ground for the analog portions of the circuit. The importance of keeping the
digital and analog ground cannot be stressed enough. Digital ground has a high amount of noise and the rail splitter
prevents it from contaminating the analog ground signals.


Asif Ahmed Anik, Ipseeta Tasana, Saahil Simhad & Riyadh Al Nur

Figure 9: MAX232 Working as a Charge Pump to Produce 8.5V

Figure 10: 5V Supply and Creation of an Analog Ground

Analog to Digital Converter
The conversion involves quantization of the input, so it necessarily introduces a small amount of error.
The microcontroller used in this system, Arduino Leonardo (refer to Appendix A for more information), uses the
ATMEGA family of chips produced by Atmel which have a 10-bit ADC (analog-to-digital converter) built-in to convert
signals received at on the analog ports to digital signals.
Real-Time Plot
To obtain a real-time plot of brain waves, the two choices we had was to write an application from scratch to
visualize the waves. In this project, though, we opted to use a graphical circuit simulation software Lab VIEW made by
National Instruments (refer to Appendix B). The software installs a firmware on the Arduino so that it can be controlled
from within the application.
The document was set up to be a continuous sampling project where the sampling rate can be varied and the
resulting plot is seen in real time on a screen.

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.9638

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Brain Wave Pattern Detection

Figure 11: Block Diagram of Lab View

The flow diagram in Figure 3.12 shows the graphical representation of the sampling application in Lab view.
This program enables the program to use Arduino to read data from its analog port and plot it in the plotting application.


The international 10-20 system of electrode placement provides for uniform coverage of the entire scalp.
The distance between the bony landmarks of the head is used to generate a system of lines which run across the head.
These lines intersect at 10% and 20% of their total lengths and this is where electrodes are placed.

Figure 12: Image Showing Where the Electrodes are placed According to the 10-20 System

Figure 13: The Full Circuit Setup Including the Arduino Board at the Top

Figure 14 and Figure 15 show the results of blinking the eyes rapidly to generate peaks in the alpha waves


Asif Ahmed Anik, Ipseeta Tasana, Saahil Simhad & Riyadh Al Nur

generated. The FFT curve in Figure 3.16 clearly shows that the signal acquired is less than 10 Hz which complies with the
frequency range of alpha waves.

Figure 14: The Corresponding Result after Blinking the Eye

Additionally, more tests were carried out to see if the system could pick up signals if any of the arms were moved
considering that other parts of the body were completely still and the test subject was not blinking while carrying out this

Figure 15: Brain Signal Acquired for Right Hand Movement Along with FFT
Both Figure 16 (a) and Figure 16 (b) show the results of moving the right hand, making sure other parts of the
body are completely still. The wave shape produced is different as to when the test was done with eye blinks. A fast
Fourier transform (FFT) confirms that the signal acquired is indeed again an alpha wave.



Figure 16: Plots of Data Acquisition Using Lab View

A much more significant change could be observing in the Lab VIEW simulation graphs.

The project successfully detected different pattern of brain waves accompanied by different gestures. It integrated
different hardware and software to detect the brain wave signals. The programming includes a data logger. Mechanical
Impact Factor (JCC): 5.9638

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Brain Wave Pattern Detection

support includes an electrode gel, and separate component for the circuitry, one for the processing and another for the
power supply circuit. The electrical components include instrumental amplifiers of 1000 gains and notch filters which has a
cutoff frequency of about 50 Hz. The experimental setup is capable of detecting and recording brainwave activity during
eye blink. But the physiological efficacy of the data is still questionable. However, the objective of building and designing
a model setup to detect and analyze the brain wave is achieved.


Murias, M, S. Webb, J. Greenson and G. Dawson, 2007 resting state cortical connectivity reflected in EEG
coherence in individuals with autism. Biological Psychiatry, 62: 270.


Federico Carpi, Danilo De Rossi, University of Pisa, Interdepartmental Research Center E. Piaggio Non
invasive Brain-Machine Interfaces (final report)


Nitish V. Thakor. "Bipotentials and Electrophysiology Measurement."Copyright 2000 CRC Press LLC. (2013)
[Online]. Available: http://www.engnetbase.comK. Elissa, Title of paper if known, unpublished.


Rui Wang, Recognizing phonemes and their distinctive features in the brain a dissertation submitted to the
department of electrical engineering and the committee on graduate studies of Standord University in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy, R, March 2011.(2013) [Online]. Available: