September 21, 2011

Danish Group Creates Do-It-Yourself Brain Scan Phone App

Have you been feeling like your brain is a little dysfunctional lately? Not sure what's going on in the old gray matter? Would you like to have it checked out, but you just don't have the time?

There's an app for that.

No, seriously...there really is. A team led by Professor Jakob Eg Larsen at the Technical University of Denmark has come up with a brain scan app for the Nokia N900 smartphone. It requires the use of a small, commercially available electroencephalogram (EEG) headset, making it portable enough to monitor neural signals anywhere you care to check your brain: at home or in the office, reports Digital Trends' Trevor Mogg.

While the average person doesn't have the ability to actually interpret the results, “do it yourself” check-the-brain attempts are probably a waste of time. But the app could be used by people with specific brain issues, such as epilepsy, for routine monitoring.

To scan, you plug the headset into your phone and then launch the app. The app then scans, and offers a simplified 3D model of the brain on the smartphone's screen. The image will then light up and provide data as it detects activity in your gray matter, says Digital Trends. You can rotate the image by swiping the screen to focus on a specific area of the brain.

“Traditionally, in order to do these kind of EEG measurements you have big lab set-ups that are really expensive,” said Professor Larsen. “You have to bring people in, isolate them and give them specific tasks.”

The app could save time for people who routinely need to go to the hospital to have the EEG scan done. Though it still won't replace the detail and complexity of an in-hospital scan, it could help some patients and specialists.

And it would certainly impress your friends in a bar during a “who has the coolest app?” contest.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell




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