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Wireless EEG system runs on body heat

Posted: 25 Oct 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless EEG system? thermoelectric generator? body heat? DSP block?

IMEC has developed a two-channel wireless electroencephalography (EEG) system powered by a thermoelectric generator. Body heat dissipated naturally from the forehead powers the EEG, which consumes 0.8mW.

The wearable system for monitoring brain waves operates completely autonomous and maintenance-free with no need to change or recharge the batteries. Potential applications include the detection of imbalance between the two halves of the brain, detection of certain kinds of brain trauma, and monitoring of brain activity.

The system is integrated into a headband. Its small size, low power consumption of only 0.8mW and autonomous operation increase the patient's autonomy and quality of life.

IMEC's proprietary ultralow power biopotential readout ASIC extracts high-quality EEG signals with micropower consumption. A low-power DSP block encodes the extracted EEG data which is sent to a PC via a 2.4GHz wireless radio.

A thermoelectric generator mounted on the forehead convert the heat flow between the skin and air into electrical power. The generator is composed of 10 thermoelectric units interconnected in a flexible way.

At room temperature, the generated power is about 2-2.5mW or 0.03mW/cm? which is the theoretical limit of power generation on human skin. Higher power generation would cause an uncomfortable sense of cold. The EEG system is operational in less than a minute after switching on the device.

Future research targets further reduction of the power consumption of the different system components including the radio and processor. Also, a semiconductor process for manufacturing thermopiles is under development.

- Jack Shandle
Wireless Net DesignLine

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