Last year I purchased a Zeo Mobile Sleep Manager. This is a nifty Bluetooth headband that tracks your brainwaves while you sleep and presents it on your smartphone as a graph indicating when you were awake, in light, deep or REM sleep. It's like having your own personal EEG. You can use your Zeo to improve your sleep, test the effectiveness of sleep aids, or to experiment with dream recall or lucid dreaming. As a data junkie, this was something I absolutely had to have!

Unfortunately, the Zeo uses a silver-coated fabric headband sensor that the company says needs to be replaced every few months to ensure optimal performance. These replacement sensor pads are expensive (about $50 for a three pack). Worse, it seems like the company that made the Zeo went out of business last March, so replacement sensor pads are not available at all now!

You can buy a Zeo on eBay, but in order to keep it running indefinitely, you will need to be able to make your own replacement sensor pads. The design of the sensor pad seemed fairly straightforward. After a bit of research and experimentation, I succeeded in making my own replacement headband sensors, and I'll show you how to make DOZENS of replacement sensors pads that will keep your Zeo going strong forever!

DISCLAIMER: Although I have tested these sensors on my own Zeo device, you assume all risks for damage to your Zeo device by making and using these replacement sensors. I am NOT affiliated with Zeo Inc. in any way and did not consult with them in making this sensor.

I make no guarantees about the performance of these handmade sensors vs the Zeo OEM sensors, but until Zeo Inc begins selling them again, I hope this guide will help people who already have a Zeo device and wish to continue using it.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This project is relatively inexpensive when compared to buying replacement sensors from Zeo (although now that they are out of business, this is moot). For a little over $35, you can  buy enough material to make DOZENS of replacement Zeo sensors.

The most unusual material in this project is the conductive fabric for the pads that contact your forehead. I bought the MedTex 180 fabric from SparkFun and it looks and feels exactly like the material used for my original Zeo pads. The 12" x 13" sheet will set you back twenty bucks, but there is enough material to make about 30 sensor pads. For comparison, I also purchased the cheaper RipStop fabric from SparkFun ($9), but it seemed too stiff to work well. It might work, but I recommend spending the extra money for the MedTex 180.

The second critical component is the fabric snaps. They have to be the right size and style to snap into the back of the Zeo. I used Sew-Ology No 16 Pearl Snap Fasteners, 7/16 in and they worked perfectly. These are sold as packages containing matching studs and sockets, but only the studs will be used in this project. Each sensor pad will require three fasteners.

Hint: It is important that the studs and prongs be metallic and unpainted, as they need to conduct electrical signals. The first set of snaps I bought had bare metal studs but painted prongs. These can be made to work, but require more effort (I'll explain this later).

The rest of the materials in this project can be found at your local hobby and crafts store.

You will definitely need scissors and a hammer. If you use iron on patches as I suggest here, you will need a regular clothes iron. The iron on patches gives your project a nice finish, but are not required. You could also get away with just using plain fabric and sewing or using staples to hold it all together.

Having a 1/8 inch hole punch is helpful, but not required. Such hole punches can be found at your crafts store, but it might be tricky finding that exact size. You don't really need it, but it might help if you can find it.

  - MedTex 180 Fabric ($19.95 for a 12" x 13" fabric sheet from SparkFun)
  - Heavy fabric (I used black twill, $1.75 for a large piece)
  - No 16 Snap Fasteners, 7/16 in ($4.29 from HobbyLobby)
  - Iron-on fabric patches (I got a set of several at the supermarket for under $2.00)
  - Yarn or string (I paid $5.99 at HobbyLobby for more yarn than I can use in a lifetime!)
  - Heat shrink tube or plastic stir straw
  - Double sided foam tape

  - Hammer
  - Clothes iron
  - Stapler (regular size and TOT50 mini-staples are helpful)
  - 1/8 in hole punch, such as this (optional, but very helpful)
  - Needle and needle threader (optional, but helpful)


<p>Do not buy replacement zeo sensor from rlong192002,aka Richard Long, ebay account. He's a scammer!!</p>
<p>To purchase on eBay</p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/322237365874" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.com/itm/322237365874</a></p>
<p>How do I know it is time to change the original Zeo headband sensor? I see gaps in the recording with dotted lines. Is this the indication?</p>
<p>Yes, this means that the transmitter things one or more of the electrodes is not making contact, or the unit is not on your forehead. The circuit uses the central DRL noise reduction electrode to test for connectivity.</p>
<p>For my repaired headband all the Ohm is below 1K (40-400 Ohm), and still the headband is not picking up any proper signal. When checking in ZeoScope, there is a very noisy signal and REMs are not getting shown properly. Same if I use the transmitter directly on the head without headband. Could it be that the transmitter itself is broken? And what can I do about that?</p>
<p>I would check to make sure there is no shorts between the electrodes on your homemade headband. However if you do not get a signal with the transmitter directly on your head, then it does sound to me like there might be a problem with it. I don't know of anything that could be done to help with that.</p>
<p>I recommend purchasing a set of disposable adhesive EKG gel electrodes to test the transmitter. You should get an extremely clean signal. If you don't then I would suspect the transmitter DRL signal is not being properly produced, or perhaps the snap receptacles on the transmitter are corroded or damaged in some way. If you get a clean signal, the problem is definitely the sensor.</p>
<p>One of the best ways to test your headband is to use a simple ohmmeter to check resistance from the fabric to the snap. It should be under 1K ohm.</p>
Yes, it's probably time to replace your headband.
<p>Just bought a ZEO package on Ebay after Steve Gibson's recommendation (grc.com).</p><p>I hope the headband replacement effort launches soon. This is a great DIY substitute though, thanks.</p>
<p>I was just reading a transcript of that. He was saying they were going for $40 on Ebay. I did a search just now and I only came up with a listing on Amazon selling new for $480 or used for $200. That's crazy! Similar functionality can be made with a $35 Rasperry Pi or some other generic SBC. I don't know why Zeo went out of business, but it is clear that their product is in high demand now. </p>
<p>Congrats on your Zeo purchase! It's an amazing little device and so sad that it was discontinued and it's assets purchased by a company which probably has no intent on ever marketing it again. Very sad indeed.</p>
<p>I bought the materials but it seems like a pain in the butt. I stuck three blank snaps into the three holes on the back of the sensor and stuck that to my forehead. I hold it in place with a regular headband. The device is picking up brain activity. I have not tried it while sleeping yet. It seems that the sensor is not too picky. Has anyone else tried anything like this?</p>
I have noticed that you can get a signal using just the metal contacts, but I have not tested it for an entire night.<br><br>I did try snap-on ECG electrodes from an EMT supply store, although they are a bit pricey and tend to make a gooey mess.
<p>How do I buy one of these from you?</p>
<p>I am not currently offering these for sale. The instructions are here so you can make your own.</p>
<p>Great instructions! On my first try I tapped one of the studs a bit too enthusiastically, and the connector to the Zeo bent a bit. It would fit, but then pop out. So, I know to use a firm but gentle tap with the hammer. </p><p>I had trouble getting the ends of the yarn to be tidy enough in the back. They took up so much room that I couldn't get a seal all the way around with my patch fabric. When I make the next one (when I don't tap as hard), I think I'll use thinner yarn (the first was worsted, maybe I'll use DK), or a slightly wider strip of iron-on patch fabric. I can always take the Zeo off the headband sensor to charge it (I have a bedside model) if the fabric proves too bulky. </p>
<p>Glad these instructions are working for you! I'm still pleasantly surprised that there are folks still using their Zeos after all this time.</p>
I am interested too if anyone is still making these. Thanks.
<p>Hi my name is Daniel i am a fan of Zeo i would like to know if you are still selling the replacement headband sensor.you could reach me at krolock@ymail.com many thanks</p>
I wanted to give you guys an update on sensor pads for the Zeo Bedside. I have completed the template for that model and am now in the process of making nine of these for those of you who wanted to buy them from me. I plan to sell them for $15 each, plus shipping. Four of these are already spoken for.
<p>I am a happy Zeo mobile user and certain a very bad news when Zeo went out of business. I just found out this discussion. If you have the replacement pad for sell, please let me know. I also know some small manufacturers in Asia that might be able help you out if you show interest too, feel free to drop me an email: steven.p.ng@gmail.com </p><p>By the way, thank you for helping out Zeo user out there :-)</p><p>It is holiday time so Merry X'mas in 2014!</p>
<p>I'll buy, thank you.</p>
If you`re selling the headband for the IOS, I`d be a buyer. <br> <br>Happy New Year
Any chance you're selling any more of these headbands? <br> <br>Any chance you could ship them to London? <br> <br>Thanks, <br>Mike Cave
Hi everyone, due to possibility of these sensors being protected by patents, and the fact that making these is so time consuming, I will no longer honor new requests for making these for folks. Thank you for your understanding. <br> <br>I do still have raw materials, so if you wish to have a shot at making one, and do not wish to buy materials in bulk yourself, I might be able to help you that way.
<p>I am desperately in need of a Zeo Replacement Headband. Is anyone making these that would be willing to sell me one/some?</p>
<p>I'll buy some if you are making and selling them. Thank you.</p>
<p>My email is reginaofthesun@yahoo.com</p>
<p>Hi guys,</p><p>If there's anyone out there who's got the making of DIY replacement sensors for Zeo down pat, would you mind selling some to me? I'm not good with tools and making stuff and I'm generally too depressed to learn new skills at the moment.</p><p>Please contact me at nicety.log@gmail.com if you could help out.</p><p>Kind regards,</p><p>tolerant</p>
<p>I would like to purchase some replacements as well. I tried other sleep monitors but the headband worked the best for me. What is the best way to buy some replacements. </p><p>Many Thanks</p>
<p>I'm not really up to try and make these myself but I'm more than happy to pay. If anyone has working versions for Zeo Mobile I'll be happy to buy them from you for a price comparable to the old retail price. Feel free to contact me onthebrinkbook@gmail.com thanks!</p>
<p>Great instructable! The iron on patches are a great alternative to heat sealing which isn't normally available to a hobbyist. Did you test the resistance of you sensor against the original? I believe Medtex 180 is the same material used in the original zeo headbands but the studs seem to be conductive ABS plastic. <br></p>
<p>The resistance was as good as my old worn out Zeo headband, but I didn't have a new one to compare against. I think it's great that you are trying to manufacture these headbands, but there was another gentleman on here who wanted to do the same and said he was unable to obtain permission to do so from the current IP holder.</p>
<p>I also personally contacted Ben Rubin, former CTO of Zeo, Inc, and while he was supportive of my work, he confirmed that Zeo and the associated intellectual property rights had been sold to another entity that he was not at liberty to disclose.</p><p>So something sneaky is afoot and I'm not sure what it means for Zeo enthusiasts. Maybe a Apple is working on an alarm clock?</p>
<p>For those of you who want to buy headbands: The Zeoband project aims to professionally manufacture Zeo compatible headbands so that people can carry on using their Zeo bedside and Zeo mobiles. To register your interest and receive updates, please visit <a href="http://www.zeoband.com./" rel="nofollow">www.zeoband.com.</a></p>
<p>Is anybody interested in buying these? I have a small batch being made. If you could email me at zeoheadbands@jrhe.co.uk then I will let you know when they are available.</p>
Has anyone started selling these?
Nice work! Now that the website is no longer available does anyone know of any software that can be used to upload/analyze the data from the SD card?
Thanks soooooo much!
You're welcome! Glad I could help! :)
Hi I have been trying to get the double sided foam for the headband in England our DIY and hobby shops don't seem to keep it. Could you tell me how thick it should be or if you know a place I could get it in England. <br>
I use 1/16 inch double-sided foam tape, which is fairly typical in the US. The thickness isn't that crucial, but if you can find something slightly thicker, it might be best, as the 1/16th tape is barely thick enough. Have you tried hobby shops, hardware shops, or office supply shops? I am very surprized that this product does not exist on the UK.<br><br>You could always order it online internationally:<br><br>http://lmgtfy.com/?q=double-sided+foam+tape<br><br><br>Good luck!
Hi Marciot thank you for your help I wasn't sure what thickness to get. I have found ebay to be the best place to get the double sided foam in the end and have bought Black Single Sided Foam Tape 20mm Wide x 6mm Thick. I am not sure yet if this will work I wanted it a little bit thicker as I get marks from the studs over my forehead and have to keep changing the position every night. this is the link: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280762140228?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&amp;_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 My son in law has a laser machine in my garage and has laser'd out the templates for me. <br>I am hoping to try to put everything together today. <br>regards, <br>Sid
Hi Sid. Yes, that should work. Double sided foam tape would hold the conductive fabric in place better, especially as you drove in<br>the studs, but it's probably not a huge deal to make it work with single sided tape. You could use staples around the pads to keep the fabric in place, or maybe tuck the edges of the fabric underneath the sticky side of the tape to secure it. Even if you do none of that, it should all hold together when you iron on the patch. Let us know how it goes, and maybe post pictures of the finished product!<br><br>Good that you have a laser cutter, as cutting out the parts is by far the most tedious part of the process.
Does anyone know where to get one of the transmitters? The thing that you snap to the headband? I have one of the bedside Zeos and it isn't receiving signals from the headband any more.
eBay. Every week a new one comes up. I suggest setting a watch on Zeo.
Actually &quot;Zeo Sleep&quot; is a better keyword. If you do a completed item search, you'll see that a complete Zeo sells from $50 to $200 each.
Right, so the only solution that you know of is to buy a complete Zeo, no other way to get just the transmitter piece?

About This Instructable




More by marciot:DIY Replacement Zeo Sleep Monitor Headband Sensor 
Add instructable to: