I slept in the office last night. Not because I was exhausted or burning the midnight oil; I was helping our neuroscience team collect the data we need to validate and calibrate the EEG sensors in our prototypes.
“EEG” is short for electroencephalogram, a type of device that measures brain activity. In our sleep lab, we use medical grade EEG equipment to collect data about how well our study participants sleep: how long it takes them to fall asleep, how much time they spend in the deepest stage of sleep, how often they wake up over the course of the night, etc.
Most consumer sleep trackers detect motion or heart rate to guess whether someone is asleep or awake. But that approach can’t collect the same types of sleep stage metrics we capture in the sleep lab, and it can’t achieve the same level of accuracy that a professional lab technician can achieve when analyzing EEG data. That’s why our prototypes (and the production units we will eventually offer for sale) have built-in EEG sensors -- so they are able to collect sleep-lab-quality data in our customers’ homes.
EEG sensors work by detecting tiny electrical variations in your brainwaves. Because of differences in the conductivity of different electrode materials, every EEG design registers brainwave activity a little differently. Our prototypes have a new EEG design we haven’t used before, and we need to make sure they will allow us to calculate accurate sleep metrics when our pilot participants use them in their homes. That’s the reason for our office slumber party. By recording the same sleep session using our professional lab equipment and our prototype, we can make sure that our prototype EEG sensor is just as accurate and reliable as the system we use in the lab.
Good news -- our sleep testing has shown that these prototypes work just as well as we’d hoped, with an overall 91% correlation between our protos and the lab system! Below you can see some examples of the EEG data we’ve collected from our prototype testing. First we tested just the prototype with large eye movements, then the sleep test.
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