In what it terms a “neuromarketing breakthrough,” Sands Research has announced the development of a higher speed EEG brain wave monitoring system. The new setup uses a high-density array of EEG sensors capable of measuring activity 10,000 times per second. This hardware is combined with proprietary software to analyze brain activity.
“We are pleased to advance the knowledge in this field and demonstrate that the use of EEG application is the only technology presently available that can maintain real-time data acquisition at the speed the brain functions.” stated Sands. “With this release, we collect EEG data at five times the speed of systems utilized by NeuroFocus, our nearest competitor and others in the field.”
“Additionally, this advancement in sample rate technology allowed us to implement new signal processing algorithms with the ability to eliminate artifact coming from muscle and eye-related movements. [That is] a key issue for potentially corrupting EEG data collection.” continued Sands.
Sands claims to be “only fully vertically integrated, whole head EEG systems manufacturer in the neuromarketing field.” They make the conductive gel, the EEG cap, the data acquisition hardware and software, and the final analysis/reporting software. (Full press release.)
While this increase in speed sounds impressive, the exact implications for the neuromarketing industry aren’t clear. Academic research has yet to demonstrate the effectiveness of either EEG or fMRI brain scan technology for improving ads or products, so whether a higher sampling rate will greatly improve accuracy of predicted behavior is hard to say. Indeed, the neuromarketing industry and academic research in neuroeconomics have diverged in approach. The major neuromarketing practitioners have gravitated to EEG technology, which allows high sampling rates and simultaneous testing of multiple subjects. Academic “mind readers” like Loewenstein and Just at Carnegie Mellon University have been using fMRI, which allows 3-dimensional imaging of brain activity but uses costly and restrictive machines and offers lower spatial and temporal resolution.
Overall, though, the Sands development is consistent with Ray Kurzweil’s prediction in The Singularity is Near; the futurist anticipates exponential improvement in brain imaging resolution for the next few decades.