Electroencephalogram (EEG), or brain monitoring, is becoming as popular and ubiquitous as monitoring pulse or heart rate. Technological advancements have accelerated the industry's growth and possibilities in a matter of a few decades. Today, products based on EEG technologies are venturing into totally new industries and finding more uses - from medical to entertainment and business-related tasks. Devices and services that appear on the market are becoming more affordable and convenient for the end user.
As brain monitoring technology is expanding its boundaries progressively and entering our day-to-day lives in novel and creative ways, it is worth paying close attention to the emerging industry trends. Here is a list of five EEG trends to watch in 2021.
1. Cooperation with other industries and entry into new markets
One of the main trends to watch in EEG is the industry's cooperation with other sectors. Such collaborations facilitate brain technology companies spearheading into new markets and creating new products. For example, the combined use of virtual reality and EEG has produced a VR neurointerface, also known as brain-computer interface (BCI), which activates a direct communication pathway between a user's brain and an external device. As a result, for example, the user can control an external input device, purposefully shaping the activity of the brain. A lot of valuable data that can be obtained by means of monitoring brain activity in a virtual reality environment with feedback. EEG biosensors ensure the objectivity, accuracy, and completeness of collected data, which, when integrated with VR technology, can take its capabilities to the next level. The emerging field promises a range of implementations from brain-controlled games to post-stroke rehabilitation and recovery of movement possibilities.
2. New uses for EEG data
Until a few decades ago only clinicians and expert neuroscientific researchers were able to use EEG technologies under strictly controlled laboratory conditions. Recent technological advancements have facilitated the expansion of existing knowledge about human brain, its processes, and structures. Furthermore, the numbers of potential applications and users have grown dramatically. EEG technology has long gone beyond the monitoring of meditation, sleep, relaxation, biofeedback, and even BCI. Some of the new applications for the brain technology data include:
Creative fields. Researchers have already attempted to study cognitive processes that are thought to underlie creativity using EEG and neuroimaging. Creative individuals in spheres like music, theater, and art, are interested in monitoring their brain activity during creative workflows or tracking the public's reaction to their works. The obtained data could potentially enhance their creative processes and improve end products.
Businesses. EEG-driven solutions such as neural interfaces already make it possible to handle various business tasks with lower risks and increase production performance. Additionally, businesses want to analyze brain behavior of their employees to build data-driven predictions, using AI, and streamline business processes to boost efficiency and quality of their work. For example, the technology is believed to be beneficial in investment firms and the stock market, aiding traders to make better and more informed decisions.
3. Narrow-use products and white-label solutions
Instead of utilizing the already existing universal solutions, startups are becoming more interested in having their products designed for a specific task such as attention-tracking or memory improvement. This has propelled the demand for white-label EEG solutions. Today, companies like Brainbit offer businesses research, product development, and manufacturing of custom EEG devices, allowing consumers to associate the product with the reseller.
4. Providing businesses with science-backed evidence
EEG devices are already available and widely used in the meditation market. Products such Muse headbands monitor brain activity during meditation and track sleep to reduce stress and improve engagement. Studios are beginning to incorporate EEG devices into their practice to show their clients first-hand the efficacy of meditation techniques. The steadily escalating demand from businesses to support their practices with EEG-driven data will expand beyond meditation, veering into other industries such as sport, education, and arts, to name a few.
5. Remote solutions
Telemedicine was a fast-growing industry even before COVID-19, but in the last two years it has flourished. The segment has extended its reach as far as neurofeedback and biofeedback, which involves using visual or auditory feedback to teach users how to modify their physiology in order to improve their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Several specialized platforms for neurofeedback and biofeedback have been appearing on the market. For example, remote brain training platforms such as Myndlift assess users' brains through EEG and offer customized training plans - through playing specialized games or watching videos - to reach a desired mental state and goals. Such platforms work with clinics, providing them with their own infrastructure, as well as directly with the end user.