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OpenBCI EEG Headband Kit Guide

Now available in our shop!#

When combined with our Ganglion or Cyton boards, the OpenBCI EEG Headband Kit is a low-cost tool for obtaining research-grade EEG data.

This tutorial will guide you through setting up your EEG system with either board! Please read this tutorial in its entirety (ALL Ganglion and Cyton sections, even if you have one of these boards) before setting up the system.

Each kit includes:#

  1. Two Ear-clip electrodes (left example)
  2. Three lead wires for flat EEG Snap Electrodes (right example)
  3. Five standard lead wires, i.e. wire clip cables (middle example)
  4. One full-length-velcro headband
  5. Replacement flat ear electrodes, replacement flat snap electrodes, and replacement 2 mm spikey electrodes

All electrode wires end in a female header termination compatible with OpenBCI biosensing boards.

10-20 Internationally Accepted EEG Node Placement#

The headband allows three frontal cortex measurements (F7, AF7, Fp1, Fpz, Fp2, AF8, F8) via the 3 lead wires with flat EEG electrodes. The five leads with spikey electrodes will allow measurement at the FT7/FT8, T7/T8, TP7/TP8, P7/P8, PO7/PO8, O1/O2, and Oz nodes, depending where you insert the spikey electrodes. In total, this kit comes with EIGHT electrode leads.

To attach the spikey electrodes to the standard lead wires:

  1. Place spikey electrode spikes down on a table or hard surface.
  2. Insert electrode into desired headband location.
  3. Insert exposed metal into the groove of the electrode.
  4. Gently press down on the plastic part of the electrode wire to snap the electrode into place.

To remove spikey electrodes from the lead wires:

  1. Using your thumb, press on the electrode while slightly bending the electrode holder.
  2. If that doesn't work, try using precision pliers. Carefully clamp the plastic end of the lead wire. Using excessive force may break the plastic around the end of the lead wire.
  3. Carefully bend the electrode holder with pliers while pressing the electrode and it should pop out.

Headband-Ganglion Tutorial#

The Ganglion board supports four channels of EEG/EMG/EEG input and can stream data over bluetooth or wifi. In this tutorial we will show you how to obtain two frontal lobe measurements and two temporal lobe measurements using the four channels of the Ganglion and stream the data over bluetooth!

Battery#

All OpenBCI boards ship with a free 2-pin standard JST compatible 4-AA battery holder. For the best user experience, we recommend purchasing the LiPo battery and charger linked below.

  1. Lithium ion battery and
  2. USB charger

We recommend this battery for its long battery life, compact size, and compatibility with all OpenBCI boards.

Hardware#

Your Ganglion may have shipped with orange protective cellophane over switches sw1 - sw4. Once you've peeled the protective layer off, and flipped the switches to down position, they should look like the image below. Because we are using the Ganglion to obtain EEG, this step is IMPORTANT.

See the Ganglion Hardware page for a detailed explanation of why we flip the four channel switches to down.

Steps

  1. Connect one earclip electrode to the top D_G (driven ground) pin, as shown above.
  2. Connect the second earclip electrode to the top REF pin, as shown above.
  3. Connect the female terminations of the two flat snap electrodes and two spikey electrodes to top pins 1-4, shown above. (The order of pin connections is up to user preference.)
  4. Place the velcro headband between the clip end of a colored cable and a spikey electrode, making sure to align with the hole in the headband, then snap the spikey electrode into the clip
  5. Place the velcro headband between the flap snap electrode and the snap end of a colored cable, making sure to align with the hole in the headband, then snap the electrode into place.
GUI ChannelElectrodeGanglion Board PinElectrode Type
1Fp1Top +1 pinFlat snap
2Fp2Top +2 pinFlat snap
3TP7Top +3 pinSpikey
4TP8Top +4 pinSpikey
-A1Top D_G pinEar clip
-A2Top REF pinEar clip

Assembling the Headband

The placement of nodes on the headband is best represented in the following image:

In this diagram, the red circles represent areas where flat electrodes can be placed, and the blue circles represent areas where spiky electrodes can be placed. This placement is ultimately up to you, and the areas that you wish to record. However, a general suggestion for standard electrode placement is outlined in yellow.

To attach the electrodes to the headband:

  1. Place the wire head on the rough side of the velcro
  2. Place the electrode on the soft side of the velcro
  3. Snap the two pieces together, with the velcro in between, to secure them.

The spikey electrodes are particularly difficult to insert. To attach them to the headband:

  1. Loop the metal wire part of the connector around the neck of the electrode
  2. Press down the plastic part to snap it into place around the neck of the electrode

Note that removal of electrodes takes place in the reverse order of these steps.

OpenBCI Software#

Now that you've finished with the hardware set-up, the next step is to set up the GUI! Follow the GUI tutorial to prepare your computer to communicate with your Ganglion.

Once you've downloaded the GUI zip file per tutorial instructions, fire up the GUI as shown in this YouTube video!

Notice the sharp peak-trough-peak wave behavior in the upper left time series window of the GUI. The first peak corresponds with the initiation of an eye blink, the trough immediately after shows a dip in alpha brain waves that syncs to the eye's closing for a fraction of a second! The peak immediately after the trough corresponds to the brain signals to the eyelid to reopen, thus concluding the blink cycle.

The band power window in the lower right of the GUI shows the relative strengths of the user's alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and theta brain waves. The GUI and Ganglion work together to separate and categorize brain waves based on characteristics like frequency and amplitude.

In the picture above, you can see the Ganglion Signal window in the lower left of the GUI. This widget helps users establish a quality connection for each electrode. For most bioelectrical measurements, you want the skin-electrode contact surface impedance to be low. Two of the four channels show lower impedance (these happen to be the flat snap electrodes that are touching the skin over the frontal cortex). This connection must be good, hence the green light to the left of the impedance value. If the impedance light in the GUI is red, you can improve the connection by making sure the electrodes are secured against the skin and making good contact. You may find it helpful to add a little electrode paste to boost conductivity of the Ag-AgCl coating on the electrodes.

Another widget shown in the picture above is the Focus widget. When the alpha waves are (relatively) high and beta waves are low, the GUI translates this to a focused state. The Focus Widget is temporarily deprecated until a more reliable Focus algorithm is implemented. If you would still like to use this widget, you can download and run GUI v4.2.0.

Headband-Cyton Tutorial#

The Cyton board supports eight channels of EEG/EMG/EEG input and can stream data over bluetooth or wifi. In this tutorial we will show you how to obtain three frontal lobe measurements and five temporal lobe measurements and stream the data over bluetooth!

Battery#

All OpenBCI boards ship with a free 2-pin standard JST compatible 4-AA battery holder. For the best user experience, we recommend purchasing the LiPo battery and charger linked below.

  1. Lithium ion battery and
  2. USB charger

Hardware#

As shown above:

  1. Connect one earclip electrode to the bottom BIAS pin
  2. Connect the second earclip electrode to the bottom SRB pin
  3. Connect the female terminations of the three flat snap electrodes to bottom pins 1-3 (labeled N1P, N2P, and N3P). (The order of pin connections is up to user preference.)
  4. Connect the female terminations of up to five spikey electrodes to bottom pins 4-8 (labeled N4P through N8P). (The order of pin connections is up to user preference.)
  5. Place the velcro headband between the clip end of a colored cable and a spikey electrode, making sure to align with the hole in the headband, then snap the spikey electrode into the clip
  6. Place the velcro headband between the flap snap electrode and the snap end of a colored cable, making sure to align with the hole in the headband, then snap the electrode into place.
GUI ChannelElectrodeCyton Board PinElectrode Type
1Fp1Bottom N1P pinFlat snap
2Fp2Bottom N2P pinFlat snap
3FpzBottom N3P pinFlat snap
4TP7Bottom N4P pinSpikey
5TP8Bottom N5P pinSpikey
6P7Bottom N6P pinSpikey
7P8Bottom N7P pinSpikey
8OzBottom N8P pinSpikey
-A1Bottom SRB pinEar clip
-A2Bottom BIAS pinEar clip

Assembling the Headband

The placement of nodes on the headband is best represented in the following image:

In this diagram, the red circles represent areas where flat electrodes can be placed, and the blue circles represent areas where spiky electrodes can be placed. This placement is ultimately up to you, and the areas that you wish to record. However, a general suggestion for standard electrode placement is outlined in yellow.

To attach the electrodes to the headband:

  1. Place the wire head on the rough side of the velcro
  2. Place the electrode on the soft side of the velcro
  3. Snap the two pieces together, with the velcro in between, to secure them.

The spikey electrodes are particularly difficult to insert. To attach them to the headband:

  1. Loop the metal wire part of the connector around the neck of the electrode
  2. Press down the plastic part to snap it into place around the neck of the electrode

Note that removal of electrodes takes place in the reverse order of these steps.

OpenBCI Software#

Now that you've finished with the hardware set-up, the next step is to set up the GUI! Follow the GUI tutorial to prepare your computer to communicate with your Cyton.

Once you've installed the GUI by following the tutorial, fire it up as shown in this YouTube video!

Play around with the vertical scale, filter, frequency range to see the effect on the raw data. The following screenshot shows an example of what your live-streamed brain data might look like.

For more details on the various GUI functions, scroll up to the OpenBCI Software section of the Headband-Ganglion Tutorial above.

For cool project ideas, head over to the Example Projects Directory!

Use Cases for OpenBCI GUI

  • OpenBCI device owners want to visualize their brainwaves!
  • Many of the researchers, hackers and students alike who purchase OpenBCI devices want to use them to acquire data as soon as their device arrives.
  • Users use macOS, Windows and Linux to acquire data
  • Users want to filter incoming data in real time
  • Users want to make their own experiments to test their awesome theories or duplicate state of the art research at home!
  • Users struggle to get prerequisites properly installed to get data on their own from OpenBCI Cyton and Ganglion.
  • Users want to stream data into their own custom applications such as MATLAB.

What You Can Do with OpenBCI GUI and Software Stack

  • Visualize data from every OpenBCI device: Ganglion, Cyton, Cyton with Daisy, and the WiFi Shield
  • Playback files using GUI
  • Run as a native application on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
  • Apply filters and other data processing tools to quickly clean raw data in real time
  • Use the GUI as a networking system to move data out of GUI into other apps over UDP, OSC, LSL, and Serial.
  • Send data to MATLAB, Neuropype (using LSL), and other third-party softwares.
  • Analyze data with Python and Brainflow
  • Create a widget framework that allows users to create their own experiments.
  • Output data into a saved file for later offline processing.
  • Customize the layout, change the gain, toggle on/off, check impedance of individual channels of the CytonDaisy board (or any connected OpenBCI board) directly in the GUI!
  • Access built-in widgets such as Focus Widget, Band Power, Accelerometer, EEG Head Plot, and MUCH more

As always, don't hesitate to email us at support@openbci.com for assistance!

Headband Tips and Signal Troubleshooting#

  • Moisten a Q-Tip in rubbing alcohol, and scrub the surface of the head directly underneath the contact point for each electrode. This will remove oil/debris from the skin, resulting in a better signal. Then place the headband on the head, with the center electrode in the center of the forehead.
  • The flat and snap electrodes can be used with electrode gel. Inject electrode gel into the contact area using any standard small syringe. This will improve signal quality by lowering the skin-electrode impedance.
  • The electrodes can be difficult to remove from their cables. To release the spikey electrodes, press the side of your finger between the black plastic and the electrode. The black side will pop up and then you can pull it off. To put it back on, put the gold wire into the ridge on the neck of the electrode, and press down the black plastic side. To release the Ag/AgCl snap electrode, press down on the velcro and pull the snap off at an angle.
  • We recommend using a thin, flat tool to remove the flat snap electrodes. Un-snap it with the help of a thin screwdriver or butter knife, being careful not to cut yourself.
  • having difficulty disconnecting the electrodes from the headband kit? Refer to the video guide.