In an effort to make studies using EEG technology more meaningful, scientists have developed a prototype EEG phantom that produces electrical signal similarly to those originating from the brain.
Instead of generating novel signals of its own, the phantom, shaped from a scan of a real person's head developed at U.S. Army Research Lab's Human Research and Engineering Directorate, plays back recordings gathered from real humans.
According to developers, the phantom will improve the quality and consistency of EEG data that's gathered from a variety of patients in widely different environments.
"The basic problem with all EEG devices is that "there are really no set standards within the EEG community of how you confirm the equipment is working the way you really think it is," said David Hairston, a neuroscientist at the Army Research Lab's.
EEG is unique because it requires having a biological voltage fluctuation, which is very difficult to recreate for testing the equipment. So, at the moment, there's no real way to confirm this equipment works.
"So, we're taking the initiative to actually build the benchmarks or standards" of getting a pure biological wave using a human surrogate known as "phantom head," Hairston adds.