Step 7: Connect EEG Headset to Puzzlebox Synapse
Puzzlebox Synapse is a free, open source, cross-platform application which connects directly to commercially available consumer-grade EEG headsets, collects brainwaves signals (including detection states), performs visualizations of the data, optionally records sessions to disk, and provides a TCP/IP server infrastructure to relay information to remote clients.
For this Instructable we will use Puzzlebox Synapse to connect to a NeuroSky MindSet and report calculations of "attention" and "meditation" levels to Puzzlebox Brainstorms which uses this data to fly, hover, or land the Radio Controlled Helicopter.
If you are using an Emotiv EPOC headset then it is possible to use the "EmoKey" software to talk directly to Puzzlebox Brainstorms and thus skip this step.
To begin you will need to establish a Bluetooth connection with your NeuroSky MindSet. Instructions on how to do this should have been provided with your headset and are outside the scope of this document. That said if you are using Windows XP, it is recommended that you use the Toshiba Bluetooth stack (provided on the headset's installation CD) as opposed to the built-in Microsoft Bluetooth stack. We have simply had better results with Toshiba's software. The default Bluetooth pin for the NeuroSky MindSet is "0000" and once connected you should have a new COM port for your windows system or /dev/ttyUSB under Linux. Any users of Mac OS X are encouraged to try running the software from source using a Python interpreter and reporting any issues they might encounter. The software should be compatible but has neither been tested with nor packaged for OS X at the time of writing.
Once connected simply select the Bluetooth MAC address of your connected NeuroSky MindSet, or select the indicated COM port as appropriate.
Click the "Start" button under the "Server Daemon" section of the interface and the GUI will begin displaying EEG measurements in realtime. Brainwave and "eSense" calculations are produced once per second. It is also possible to view the user's raw EEG output as graphed waves, view attention and relaxation trends over time, and save the complete contents of a user's session to disk or export the results as a CSV file for use with OpenOffice.org Calc or Microsoft Excel.