Electroencephalograms are often used to measure brain waves in patients with neurological conditions or in brain-computer interfaces. The electrodes used in EEGs are applied to the scalp with a sticky gel that can be irritating and hard to rinse out of hair. A team led by Bo Hong and Hui Wu at Tsinghua University, along with Ming Lei at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, has developed a less invasive, gel-free electrode that can record brain waves through hair. They published their findings in Nano Letters in August.
The researchers attached electrodes in a silicone cap to the study participants, who either had a full head of hair or a shaved head. Volunteers could manipulate the direction of a robotic toy car with their brain waves, regardless of their hair.
S. Lin et al., “A flexible, robust, and gel-free electroencephalogram electrode for noninvasive brain-computer interfaces,” doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1610-8, Nano Lett, 2019.
Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.