Epilepsy affects about 50 million people. Routine electroencephalography (EEG) tests are not long enough to properly diagnose these patients. Long time in-patient monitoring is possible but costly for health organizations and removes the patient from his natural environment. Ambulatory EEG is an alternative but existing ambulatory systems are still too bulky and unaesthetic to wear while carrying out normal life. A truly wearable EEG system (WEEG) would: a) have the capability of monitoring for long periods of time; b) not present redundant data sections to the doctor hence reducing the interpretation time; c) be aesthetically discreet for the user; d) be comfortable to wear. Sleep disorders affect approximately 6% of the population. WEEG is still a necessary technology for the diagnosis and continuous monitoring of sleep disorders without the sufferer having to stay in hospital overnight. WEEG systems could also be used for early detection of drowsiness and prevention of road accidents. This project aims to tackle some of the most important technological challenges standing in the way of future electroencephalography (EEG) systems. Specifically, this research will focus on the microelectronic related issues of: a) reducing power to enable long term monitoring; b) reducing the size of EEG systems; c) reducing the amount of specialist time required to interpret the signals. These are key stepping stones for achievement of a truly wearable ambulatory EEG system (WEEG). Simultaneously this will advance knowledge of the practical limitations of different circuit design techniques which will now be used with specifications that largely differ from any other application for which they were used before.
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