by Angela Herring of news@Northeastern

The elec­trical out­puts of the brain con­tain mas­sive amounts of infor­ma­tion that could be a pow­erful resource if we could fully tap into it. Our brain processes things we see before any con­scious recog­ni­tion of those images comes to bear. While we can already mea­sure elec­tro­mag­netic activity with EEG and MEG, both of these tech­niques are limited.

A new method devel­oped in the lab of physics pro­fessor Srinivas Sridhar could mea­sure the brain’s activity to, for example, detect threat­ening pat­terns in a drone pilot’s field of vision or track the brain’s response to neu­ro­log­ical drugs. Other pos­sible appli­ca­tions range from emo­tion analysis to neu­ro­mar­keting, whereby researchers examine the uncon­scious response to advertisements

Backed by an I-​​Corps grant from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion, Sridhar plans to turn this idea into a reality. “It’s a plat­form that could be adapted to dif­ferent appli­ca­tions,” Sridhar said of the the­o­ret­i­cally fea­sible tech­nology. Now he and his team, which com­prises psy­chology pro­fessor Yuri Petrov and asso­ciate research sci­en­tist Ozgur Yavuzcetin, are devel­oping an exper­i­mental prototype.

Sridhar noted that the new tech­nology could be useful for many med­ical appli­ca­tions, including mon­i­toring the brain of an anes­thetized patient.

The new tech­nology would be com­pletely portable. Sridhar envi­sions an iPhone app that col­lects brain­wave activity of patients with neu­ro­log­ical dis­or­ders, processes the data in the cloud and then broad­casts it to their doctors.

“The I-​​Corps pro­gram cre­ates an inno­va­tion ecosystem to trans­late NSF research into real prod­ucts,” Sridhar said. “The goal is simple: Com­mer­cialize this.” In part­ner­ship with North­eastern Health Sci­ences Entre­pre­neur alumnus Roy Miller, that is exactly what the team plans to do.