Mindflex Duel Bluetooth Arduino FIO Hack




Introduction: Mindflex Duel Bluetooth Arduino FIO Hack

Howdy Folks,

I know there's a wealth of information on how to hack the Mindflex and Force Trainer game headset to access the EEG data they send out, so I am going to keep this brief, and try to make two points.  If you are familiar with Arduino and soldering, this is a very easy hack.

First, I had not seen anyone using the Mindflex duel headsets that came out last year, and I just want to let everyone know that while the Mindflex duel and original Mindflex headsets look different on the outside, they are the same on the inside.  I mention this because you can get the Mindflex duel game that comes with two headsets for less than the original Minflex game with one headset on Amazon these days.  I was able to get the Minflex duel game, the FIO, and the Bee for less than $100 on Amazon.

Second I have some notes on how add Arduino and Bluetooth to the set, as seen on the next step.

Finally, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am using this headset as part of a much larger space based project called TRANQUILITY to control audio playback.  You can learn more about it here.  In the future I am hoping to build some binaural playback into the headset, and I'll put up a new instruct able for that soon.

Step 1: Hacking the Set

Alright, so for a great rundown of how to hack the different toy EEG headsets, head over to Frontier Nerds.  

What I wanted to do was fit the arduino into the headset, and have it communicating with my computer of Bluetooth.  So I got the Arduino FIO board and Bluetooth Bee that fits into the FIO's xbee socket.  I To get everything to kind of fit I made two mods, one to the FIO and one to the headset.

You have to program the FIO with an FTDI cable, the usb port is just on there to charge a LiPoly batter if you connect one.  I am running the arduino off the headsets battery back, so I needed neither the usb port not the LiPoly plug, so I desoldered both of those.  Be careful with the usb port because the FIO runs a necessary ground line through the usb port, so try to keep the solder pads intact.  If your board doesn't work, it could be because this ground line got damaged; you can test it with a multimeter and see where it goes clearly on the FIO.  

Next, I desoldered the big cap on the headset board and resoldered it in the same place on the other side of the board to make room for the Bluetooth Bee.

As for the wiring, connect the Arduino ground to the headset ground.  For power I attached the Vin Arduino pin to the middle connector of the switch on the reverse of the headset board.  This powers up the Arduino when the headset is turned on. 

Now, to get the Arduino to send serial over Bluetooth it really needs both the RX and TX pins, so don't soldering the headset TX pin directly to the Arduino RX pin as you would if using usb serial.  You've got to use a regular pin, I used digital 2, and use the new soft serial brain library, found in this branch on git hub.  Every time I tried downloading that branch it downloaded the non-new soft serial version, so I just cut and pasted the text into new library files.  

I put some female header pins on the FIO to make programing easy.  You have to program it with FTDI first to add the Bluetooth code, and can't have the Bee in place when uploading cause it jams the serial port.  You can see my code, attached.

Check out the photo notes, a picture is worth a thousand words in this case.

Step 2: Close It Up

Even with the mods, the FIO and Bluetooth Bee still don't quite fit.  So I got some longer plastic screws (got = pulled out of some electronic plastic housing trash) and add some black card stock covers to the top and bottom.  You can still see a little gap on the sides, which can be covered with electrical tape.

Now your ready so send your serial brain data to your computer without needing extra batteries, cables all over the place, or exposed Arduino boards. You can see how I used in TRANQUILITY.



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22 Discussions


1 year ago

I am not receiving the serial data on the serial monitor screen. But when checked on DSO i can see the data flowing. Also the RX LED on arduino uno board is not blinking

Yes, that's what I used. However, if you want to get usable / reliable data I can not really recommend any of the one sensor solutions.

I know this is quite old, but im trying to hack a mindflex duel, like your instructable but am not for sure what is meant by one sensor. Can I use the mindflex duel?

(:0)-|-< I have one question: What do you mean by "one sensor" does the regular MindFlex have to sensors, right/left and up/down? thanks!

I want to make mind control robot, mean if i think forward, back, left, right, robot will move forward, back , left , right respectively, is it possible with this technique that you used? kindly help me. if it will work efficiently because i have to make my FYP. inform me on my email p126344@nu.edu.pk

Do you think this project would work with this: http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/Bluetooth_Bee-Standalone ?

Might be able to get the enclosure fully closed this way. Let me know what you think. I think I'm going to try it. I was able to get the wired version with an UNO working, but I don't really know what I'm doing...

3 replies

Do you even need the arduino in the bee? Could the serial tx be directly connected to a wireless serial chip such as the nRF24L01+ that costs under $1 each on eBay nowadays ans is 3.3V/5V compatible?

thanks! definitely worth a try at that price. the tx voltage is so wonky, it'd be hard to tell what's going on anyway -- I'm still not convinced it's actually doing anything. I haven't thought about this project for a while, but I was thinking about just taking CV from the motor on the base station. It would be cool to circumvent that though. Maybe make a module for my synth out of it.

Wow, yeah since all the arduino does is interpret the data and send it over serial, that looks great.

So if you don't mind me asking what is the device purpose

Has anyone ported the Arduino libs over to python? I'd imagine parsing the data can be done on any platform, provided you could get TTL serial data into it.

I'm planning on making a lucid dream induction device, and I'd prefer to use something like the Raspberry Pi, since it has built in audio capabilities. It seems pretty fruitless to require an extra link in the chain by using an Arduino when you can just patch it directly into the Pi's TTL serial UART...

for more details about robo mind flex dual interfacing and programs http://arduinoz.blogspot.in/2014/02/mindflex-duel-arduino-hack.html

Is it possible to do this without soldering if so can you please email me how

hi! i have made this and i can see all frequences to processing except from meditation and attention.could you tell me whats wrong?

thank you

1 reply

What is the signal strength? This is a value from 0 (best) to 200 (problem!). You will not see any eSense readings (meditation/attention) unless you have full signal strength (i.e. signal = 0).

Is it possible to have the headset wirelessly connect with the Arduino rather then both of the wirelessly connect to the computer. I would like to be able to build stuff with arduino and have the headset control it.

1 reply

Yes, you could easily just use the arduino to read the stream that the mind flex base station revives over RF. there may be other ways with just using xbee radios, too.