NeuroSky MindWave ThinkGear API - Test 6

(Click the image to see the full-size view. Better yet, right-click the image and open it in a new window so you can read the following discussion.)

This is the sixth in a series of tests using the NeuroSky MindWave headset, their ThinkGear software, the neuro-thinkgear library from @ShadajL, and my own custom software to record brainwaves over time, and graph them.

Attention and Meditation

To understand these graphs, look at the first two graphs. The first graph shows what NeuroSky calls Attention, and the second graph shows what they call Meditation. These are plotted as scores that range from 0 to 100, and they’re plotted against Time on the x-axis. The NeuroSky software uses the data from the other eight graphs to simplify your brainwave values into these two categories, so in a way, they are a summary of the other eight graphs.

When I started this test I tried to do various things to keep my mind busy. I labeled the first graph with the band “Best Attention” because it looked like I was paying attention in that area, though as I look at it today I probably could have made it wider. That band runs down through all ten graphs so you can see what all the brainwaves look like during that time.

I labeled the second graph with a “Best Meditation” band, in part because the results look good, with scores constantly over 70 and 80, and also because I know I was meditating well during this time. Again this band runs down over all the graphs so you can see how the individual brainwave readings changed during this time.

Brainwave categories

If you scroll down through the remaining eight brainwave graphs, you’ll see big differences between the Delta, Theta, Low Alpha, High Beta, Low Gamma, and High Gamma readings during the main Attention and Meditation states. The NeuroSky documentation isn’t consistent with their software, but they provide these descriptions of brainwave frequencies:

  • Delta: Deep, dreamless sleep, non-REM sleep, unconscious
  • Theta: Intuitive, creative, recall, fantasym imaginary, dream
  • Alpha: Relaxed but not drowsy, tranquil, conscious
  • Low Beta: Formerly SMR, relaxed yet focused, integrated
  • Midrange Beta: Thinking, aware of self and surroundings
  • High Beta: Alertness, agitation

They don’t provide a description of Gamma brainwaves. Wikipedia provides this description:

“Whether or not gamma wave activity is related to subjective awareness is a very difficult question which cannot be answered with certainty at the present time.”

The future

I’m going to continue my experiments, but I don’t know how much more information I’ll post out here. It takes a bit of work to put those graphs together like this, and other than demonstrating how this works, I’m not sure if there’s any value in showing more graphs at this time. That being said, I hope this has been interesting and helpful.

Photo D8