Image of the Day: Brain-Computer Interface Electrode

A newly developed device can better measure brain waves such as those used to control a robotic car.

Emily Makowski
Oct 8, 2019

ABOVE: Study participants controlled a toy car via brain waves.
LIN ET AL. (2019)

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.

On the left, a study participant wears a silicone cap containing the newly designed electrodes. The image on the right shows one of the electrodes close up.
LIN ET AL. (2019)

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

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