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Imec and Holst Centre Introduce EEG Headset for Emotion Detection

Breakthrough Technology to Advance Neuro Research, e-Learning and Virtual Gaming Will be Demonstrated at CES 2018

LEUVEN, Belgium—Jan. 9, 2018 – At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas, Nev. Jan. 9-12, 2018, imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies, and Holst Centre, a research center established by imec and TNO, will demonstrate a prototype of an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset that can measure emotions and cognitive processes in the brain. The headset is a major breakthrough in emotion measurement for therapeutic, learning and gaming applications.

Traditionally, EEG brain scans are used to diagnose medical conditions such as epilepsy or sleep disorders. More recently, EEG brain scans have been introduced as a way to detect emotions which opens doors beyond the medical field. Researchers are looking into e-learning applications, and developers of virtual games are exploring the possibilities of emotion-based e-gaming. Such application domains require real-time emotion detection, which can be achieved through wireless EEG headsets.

Challenges in EEG electrode placement, and user comfort for long term usage are the key deterrents in using EEG signals beyond clinical purpose. Imec’s EEG headset combines user comfort with its cutting-edge low-power technology, active high-quality EEG dry-electrodes from Datwyler and advanced software to accurately monitor in real time frontal EEG signals that are related to emotional state. The system contains a headphone jack and is Bluetooth (r) compatible for music streaming. With the integration of music playback, the system can not only measure, but also influence the emotions of the person that is wearing the headset. With the help of Artificial Intelligence our headset can learn the personal musical preferences of the wearer and compose and playback, in real-time, music that fits his preferences and influences his emotions to achieve the wearers’ desired emotional state. The machine learning algorithms to achieve this were developed by Osaka University under the Center of Innovation (COI) Program integrating personalized emotion classification and real-time music composition into the system.

“Imec’s extensive expertise in this domain is a result of nearly a decade of work in creating circuits and compact systems for wearable EEG monitoring,” stated Chris Van Hoof, senior director connected health solutions. “Leveraging the expertise of our project partners: Osaka University and Datwyler, we could develop a new type of EEG headset that will be vital for clinical research on emotion estimation in therapeutic environments or for neurofeedback through aural stimulation for relaxation, cognitive enhancement and memory improvement purposes. Since the headset is pre-fitted with electrodes, this eliminates the need for expertise in electrode placement and can be used on a regular basis with minimal setup time. We’re excited about how the headset can be leveraged in the gaming community to develop enhanced and more immersive games.”  

“Our expertise in machine learning and personalized emotion classification helped us to build a unique EEG system that links music that is offered through the headphones with emotional changes,” stated professor Masayuki Numao from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (ISIR) ,Osaka University. “We have achieved this Brain Melody® system  by combining model-based emotion recognition with techniques for real-time music composition and musical expression.”

“We are excited to be part of imec’s endeavour in creating the paradigm shift in wearable EEG monitoring,” says Ronny Vrijens, Head of New Product Development at Datwyler Pharma Packaging International. “Together with imec, we have significantly improved the reliability, EEG signal quality, and ease of integration of the dry electrodes used in this new EEG headset.”

About imec

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy. 
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 75 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2016, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 496 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com.


Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

About Datwyler

The Datwyler Group is an international supplier of state-of-the-art industrial components with leading positions in global and regional market segments. As technological leader, the Datwyler Group delivers added value to its customers in all markets served. In its Sealing Solutions division, Datwyler provides customised sealing solutions to manufacturers and companies which operate in the health care and automotive industry, as well as the market segments civil engineering and consumer goods. Within the health care unit, Datwyler develops, designs and manufactures solutions for injectable packaging and drug delivery systems to facilitate customers to create a safer medical environment of tomorrow. The company develops complex and unique coatings and rubber compounds enabling customers to fill syringes with medicine and thus gives numerous people across the globe access to new medications. And it constantly invests in the most advanced technologies, designs, and production processes to keep driving innovation forward. Datwyler’s products and services are built on high-quality material, innovative technologies, outstanding engineering and process know-how. With a global manufacturing footprint on three continents, sales in over 100 countries and more than 7,000 employees, the Datwyler Group generates an annual revenue in excess of € 1’200 million. Looking back onto more than 100 years of history, Datwyler is a reliable partner, now and in the future.

About Osaka University and COI

imec has strongly collaborated with ISIR, Osaka University with Collaboration Framework Agreement since 2011.

The Center of Innovation (COI) Program is positioned as one of the main programs under the Center of Innovation Science and Technology based Radical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (COI STREAM) which is funded by MEXT and jointly operated by MEXT and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

Osaka University was adopted as one of the COI sites in 2013. Subsequently it has accelerated R&D projects by establishing a stronger collaborative structure with multidiscipline companies and research organizations including imec as well as with Kanazawa University, a satellite. The Osaka University COI  partners are currently of 28 companies and 17 research organizations.

The outlined objectives of our COI site are ultimately to realize a “self-empowerment society” where each individual faces and conquers problems to lead a happy and prosperous life by activating human abilities through brain management.

More information on http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en and https://www.coistream.osaka-u.ac.jp/en

About Holst Centre

Holst Centre is an independent R&D center that develops technologies for wireless autonomous sensor technologies and flexible electronics, in an open innovation setting and in dedicated research trajectories. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia based around roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.

Holst Centre’s fundamentals are to contribute to answering global societal challenges in healthcare, lifestyle, sustainability and the Internet of Things. This is visible through the motivation of its researchers, its different collaboration models and the choice of its research topics.

Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) and is supported by local, regional and national governments. Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from, and contributes to, the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 200 employees from some 28 nations and a commitment from more than 50 industrial partners. For more information visit www.holstcentre.com.

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