23 September 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

Researchers Use Modified VR Headset to Measure Brain Activity

2 min read
Researchers Use Modified VR Headset to Measure Brain Activity

Researchers at the University of Texas Austin (UT Austin) have developed a modified commercial virtual reality (VR) headset to measure brain activity and understand how humans react to stressors and other factors. The team added a noninvasive electroencephalogram (EEG) sensor to a Meta VR headset, allowing them to capture the user’s brain activity during VR interactions.

The purpose of the research is to enhance healthcare using VR technology. Virtual reality has gained significant interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizing its potential establishing a unique Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Level II code for a VR program.

The modified EEG sensor consists of spongy electrodes made of conductive materials, which sit along the top strap and forehead pad of the headset. This design overcomes the comfort issues associated with existing VR and EEG devices, increasing the wear time. An EEG recording device is attached to the back of the headset to capture the brain activity data.

The applications for this technology are extensive, ranging from managing anxiety to measuring attention span and mental stress in aviators. The researchers conducted tests using a driving simulation game, where the user’s brain activity was measured as they made driving decisions, providing insights into their attention levels. The details of the research are published in Soft Science.

The UT Austin research team has filed preliminary patent paperwork for the EEG sensor, indicating the potential for commercialization in the future.

VR technology is being explored healthcare providers and researchers across the country. Massachusetts General Hospital is planning a randomized controlled trial with Rocket VR Health to assess the efficacy of a VR digital therapeutic for blood cancer patients. The University of Maryland School of Medicine has also established the Center for Medical Innovations in Extended Reality, focusing on developing and certifying extended reality technologies for healthcare use.

In conclusion, the use of modified VR headsets with EEG sensors opens up new possibilities in healthcare, allowing for a more realistic and immersive experience while capturing valuable brain activity data. The applications of this technology are vast, and ongoing research aims to explore its full potential.

– University of Texas Austin
– Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
– Massachusetts General Hospital
– Soft Science Journal