Here at Neurogadget.com we often receive generous offers from BCI companies (e.g. the Tug of Mind and Mindout games) but it is the first occasion that a complete BCI hardware is offered to us. Big thanks to PLX Devices Inc., the company known worldwide for their cutting edge consumer electronics, and in particular for XWave headset, the first brain-computer interface compatible with iPhone and iPad.
Fashionable look, futuristic features
At first glance the hardware looks like your typical quality headset used for Skype calls or in-game chats. Its lightweight structure and sexy white look gives an immediate feeling of a well-made, top quality product. It could be easily mistaken for any ordinary tech gadget on the market, but don’t let yourself be misled by the external look.
The XWave is nothing less than the first brain-computer interface for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The XWave is the first consumer product priced under $100 which can sense and detect human brainwaves, interpret them and connect it to your Apple devices. The headset senses even the weaker electrical impulses transmitted through your skull to the surface of your forehead and converts these analog signals into digital.
With XWave, you can detect attention and meditation levels, as well as train your mind to control dedicated games and applications.
Main parts of the PLX XWave
PLX XWave vs. NeuroSky MindSet
So far we have used a NeuroSky MindSet connected to a PC to test the available BCI apps, but finally, thanks to PLX, Neurogadget will be able to connect its brain to the iPhone as well.
By the way the PLX XWave and the NeuroSky MindSet have a lot in common, starting with the systems’ core element, the dry sensor provided by NeuroSky. Both headsets are lightweight, easy to fit and instead of having a microphone in front of your chin, the headsets provide a brainwave sensor that taps the your forehead. However there are significant differences between the XWave and the -several years’ earlier- MindSet:
- The current version of the XWave connects via regular jack pluck to the iPhone, while the MindSet uses the -sometimes annoying- bluetooth connection (for PC and Mac).
- The forehead sensor on the XWave is completely flat, opposed to the MindSet’s round shaped sensor which has less surface to contact your skin.
- The clips sensor of the XWave sticks much more stable to your ear than the MindSet’s sensors inside the earphone.
- The MindSet can operate as a regular headset while the XWave has no built-in speakers. However you can hook earphones into an extra port on the XWave cord to use the XWave and your headphones at once.
- The XWave runs on 1 AAA battery while the MindSet has a built-in rechargeable battery.
In many other aspects the two headsets are almost the same, however the comparison would be even more accurate between the XWave and the NeuroSky MindWave which are like twin brothers.
Putting the headset on can be quite tricky but once it is done, the feeling is just great. The device catches the signals right after you set the switch ON, but pay attention, the XWave will not turn off automatically once you put it off, so always turn OFF the switch manually if you don’t want to replace the battery before the next usage.
The XWave provides a 100% plug-and-play experience. Once on your head and connected to the iPhone, it will catch your brainwaves without the need of any further adjustment. The device comes with alcohol wipes to clean your forehead and earlobe before using the headset but unless your skin is a very greasy type you won’t necessarily need to use these wipes.
Altogether the XWave is a user-friendly product with a trendy design, focusing totally on customer entertainment. It doesn’t need any special knowledge of similar products, you just need to put it on your head, plug it in your iPhone, and launch a compatible application. We’ll continue from here very soon, in a forthcoming post we will review all the games and applications currently available for the XWave, namely the XWave Visualizer, the Tug of Mind and the W.I.L.D.
For more info about PLX XWave and to order your own device please visit www.plxwave.com