CORDIS - EU research results

"""Chips on the go"": towards truly wearable EEG systems"

Final Report Summary - WEEG ("Chips on the go": towards truly wearable EEG systems)

Epilepsy affects about 50 million people in the world. 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/her natural environment. Ambulatory EEG is an alternative but existing ambulatory systems are too bulky and unaesthetic to wear while carrying out normal life. A truly wearable EEG system (WEEG) is one that: a) has the capability of monitoring for long periods of time; b) does not present redundant data sections to the doctor hence reducing the interpretation time; c) is aesthetically discreet for the user; d) is comfortable to wear.

Sleep disorders affect approximately 6% of the population. WEEG is a necessary technology for the diagnosis and continuous monitoring of sleep disorders without the sufferer having to stay in hospital overnight.

This project successfully tackled some of the most important technological challenges standing in the way of wearable EEG systems for epilepsy and sleep disorders. Specifically, this project investigated how to significantly decrease the size of EEG systems by reducing their power consumption, since it is mainly the size of the power source that determines current systems' weight/volume. In order to achieve this, it was necessary to reduce the amount of data that was transmitted/recorded from it. This was done by creating novel algorithms that could continuously interpret the signal that was sensed on the scalp, in order to identify only those segments that could have any clinical/physiological relevance and discard the others prior to recording/transmission. These novel algorithms were embedded in novel integrated circuits that could be incorporated to the electrodes and consumed extremely low levels of power, so that this processing was effectively "power free". By doing this it was also possible to decrease the amounts of data that was provided to the doctor for diagnosis/management, which had the additional advantage of reducing the burden on specialists' time.