Go Back: Design Communication
Design Process / Assignment DiscussionEdit
The Systems engineering process was very effective in the design and evaluation of Consumer BCI devices. The actual science and technical operation of the devices is very complex (The mathematical filters and signal processing are at PHD level), however by dealing with things at the subsystem and attribute level, using linear processes, everyone is able to understand the formulation and requirements of a high quality product. Because we are considering the use of the product, not the 'under-the-hood' operations, the System Functions analysis had limited applicability and usefulness for our purposes, and this is reflected in the lack of content in that section.
The background pages (Like the one on Monkeys) and Evaluation section contain an unhealthy amount of research and work that has gone into this assignment, if I were to do it again I would choose another medium so that I can focus more on assesable criteria, however I hope that the malleable marking style of the ENGN2225 course will allow this work to at least get some recognition. When I committed to this medium I decided I had to put in the background information, as it is the nature and benefit of Wikis that they fan-out with your thought processes and give you a greater understanding. As my own research became a spider-web of information, I felt oblidged to reflect this in the wiki, so that the reader can almost accompany me on my mental journey throughout the field. I am pleased that I managed to keep the page count down to a reasonable level while still tying up all the loose ends and keeping the matrix-like nature of the wiki.
The overall word count of this wiki (Not including picture captions, references or words within Figures) is aproximately 7000 words (6,791 at last count, before some minor additions). However there is also significant formatting and design work that goes into creating a wiki that works, and I believe I have achieved one that does, so in leiu of a detailed theoretical review of design communication I offer the wiki as an excercise in what I think is effective communication. I have tried not to target the wiki towards the specific audience of the marker, but rather keep it as general as possible while keeping in mind that it is an assessable task. I am satisfied that I was able to limit myself to one joke throughout the entire website.
I also found that as I progressed through the process of constructing this wiki, I used less and less references. While this is clearly not optimal, I believe this is because increasingly I was drawing upon my own knowledge of both the Systems engineering process and C-BCI technologies. If you look at the background pages you will see that they are much more heavily referenced as I am not as confident in my knowledge and claims of those areas. This is a portfolio of my work, and therefore my statements are a reflection on me, and by omitting references I take full responsibility for them. This is how I think it should be.
The field of Consumer oriented Brain-Computer Interfaces is still very much emerging, while EEG technology has been around for many years and is relatively well understood, cost cutting measures and the training required to use C-BCIs meaningfully still puts them in a safety and ethical grey area. This is further highlighted by the fact that some US states classify the use of any EEG training device on another person as practising Neurotherapy, and consider it a felony if you do not have the appropriate accreditation.  The design of the first C-BCIs are of relatively high quality, however their desire to perform as many functions as possible tends to decrease their usefulness as a whole, The IntendiX system has 3 different specialisations and I this model would result in more useful products being released and higher consumer interest in the area. The Necomimi is more succesful than most C-BCI devices due to the way it uses the technology in an instantly understandable, unique way. Specific devices such at this are what I think would act as a catalyst for C-BCI growth as an industry and field.
Personal Thoughts/Reflections (Would not Pass a Peer Review)Edit
When I first started this topic, I really wanted to get my hands on a C-BCI, my eyes were set on getting the predecessor to the Emotiv Insight, called the EPOC Neuroheadset (also by emotive). It is available online here. The price was lower than I expected from such a piece of technology and I was going to order one, until l started going in depth into the area and each product. Firstly the Emotiv Insight was due to be released, and I was hoping it would be released before the conclusion of first semester. However, it was not, I registered my interest and received no updates throughout the 3 intervening months. Secondly the OpenEEG warning (detailed on the safety considerations page ), really struck me. I can handle the danger of physical damage, losing a leg or arm, or even a risk of death. But the risk of changes to my personality was particularly unattractive, this is due to the fact that you would not really be able to self-determine if this had happened, and that others wouldn't be able to prove it to you either. The relatively unknown occurance rate of mental side-effects led me to conclude that it simply wasn't something I was prepared to try, regardless of how small the risk may be. Even if it made me a better person (particularly with regards to work-ethic) I do not want any artificial changes to who I am. I understand that the devices I have researched provide assurance to this risk, but even so I am personally put off the idea.
Another personal opinion I gained over the course of my research for the assignment and for my personal interest, is the money grabbing nature of the modern Tech Start-up, I understand that this technology wouldn't be available to consumers if there was no profit, but the methods by which companies take advantage of the lack of competition is infuriating (in decreasing level of rationality):
- Emotiv EPOC and Emotiv EEG headsets - The only difference is in firmware, the EEG version allows you to access the raw data, yet costs $750 compared to $250 for the EPOC headset. This means that most consumers are restricted to using Emotiv's programs only from their application store, which also cost money. (admitedly the includedemokey program allows use for many applications, but is not optimal).
- The Emotiv EEG version also requires a paid SDK (software development kit) starting at a further $750, which is simply a money-grab.
- Many of the devices actually measure facial expressions, not brainwaves, and use them to supplement the poor data they obtain, the Neurosky Brainwave and Emotiv Insight are particularly guilty of this, it is not intrinsically a negative feature but it is not made clear enough to consumers where the control is actually coming from.
- The devices claim to be able to train you to use your mind in a better way, although this is scientifically supported, there is simply no possibility that the horrible data the Brainwave and Insight can gather is able to provide any meangingful improvement to your thought process (If anything it can damage your concentration as you are concentrating on concentrating as defined by the toy, as opposed to actually concentrating at the task at hand). See the emotiv Insight home-page for examples of this.
- The IntendiX is too expensive and I want one.
Genuinely the research involved in this entire process has given me a few pretty strong opinions about the topic and about particular persons within it.
I also wish this Website had a Spell-Checker but that is because I am a spoiled Generation-Z teenager.