The built environment and mental health of the residents within the city are extremely interconnected. Daily exposures are known to influence psychological processes, having both known and unknown consequences. The study of Gary W. Evans from 2003 points out that personal control, social support and restoration from stress and fatigue in the physical environment directly impacts mental health. He also points out the need for evidence-based studies and methods. “Mind Monitoring” is a method to consider in such studies, as this makes bringing out evidence easier.
Unfortunately, our knowledge of the relation between mind and physical environment, especially in developing countries, is very little. Technology to conduct cross-sectional scientific studies is one of the biggest impedances.
A lot of devices are making our day to day lives easier, productive and entertaining in innumerous ways. But these are the tools that have the potential to be used in mind monitoring. They make research on environmental impacts on minds more affordable.
EEG a Mind Monitoring method
EEG stands for electroencephalogram. It is a test to find out and monitor the electrical activity of the brain using various noninvasive electrodes placed across the scalp. EEG electrodes pick up the electrical activity in the user’s brain. And then the collected signals are amplified and digitized and sent to a computer or mobile device for storage and data processing. Recently, these tests have been made affordable with new designs and exploring ways to use smartphones.
Some recent EEG devices
- NeuroSky launched quite a number of second-generation products, such as MindWave, MindWave Mobile, MindWave Mobile Plus and MindWave Mobile 2. Mindwave Mobile 2 is the most affordable brainwave reading EEG headset. These devices are used in games, education, wellness, research and development.
- Emotiv products achieved better performance and wider scalp coverage by using a higher number of channels and wet electrodes. This caused Emotiv products to have a more complicated set-up and higher price tag. Some Emotiv products are Insight, EPOC X, MN8 etc. They can provide easy-to-understand feedback on the level of stress and distraction to improve workplace wellness, safety and productivity.
- Muse is a meditation facilitating device that comes along with a mobile application. Muse 2, Muse S are available having a lot of features. Provides real-time feedback on user’s brain activity, heart rate, breathing and body movements
- Some other devices, such as: MyndPlay MyndBand, Aurora Dreamband, FocusBand, Neeuro SenzeBand work with various mind monitoring activities. For example: empowering users to train their brains to improve attention, meditation skills, for better sleep, dream clarity etc.
||MindWave Mobile 2
||Still in production
||349.00 (Ultracortex Mark IV)
399.00 (Electrode Cap)
The researchers and practitioners of developing countries like Bangladesh or Colombia are not much aware of these EEG solutions. Most of the time the price range would still be unaffordable. But the products provided by NeuroSky, interaXon and MyndPlay are comparatively less costly and can be affordable for the research and mental health practitioners in Bangladesh.
Summing up, affordable technologies for mind monitoring are now rising. And a displayable number of multidisciplinary collaborative research and experiments in this sector will increase their potential to a great extent!
Authors: Muntaka Ibnath, Nazwa Tahsin