Connectics Wave: Neurofeedback against anxiety disorder | Design Sprint 08

15 percent of people suffer from an anxiety disorder in the course of their lives. A new, effective treatment method relies on neurofeedback. In his internship, Johannes Wurster investigated how neurofeedback can also be used in the home environment. In a design sprint, he created Connectics Wave – a headset which is adapted to the needs of the user.

Treatment at home makes sense, since even leaving the own home can be a major challenge for affected people. The restrictions in everyday life are drastic – and in 60% of cases, an anxiety disorder occurs for the first time before the age of 21. Women are affected twice as often as men.

For long-lasting results

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that is by now used to treat numerous diseases. The device measures brain waves and the feedback is displayed to the patient on a computer or smartphone. Alpha waves, for example, indicate a relaxed state of consciousness, while hi-beta waves indicate increased tension. Neurofeedback training is designed to amplify the positive waves. This helps for better self-regulation or conditioning. For us, this kind of application was fascinating because in the case of anxiety disorder, neurofeedback leads to more lasting results than confrontation therapy.

Easy to use, high comfort

The EEG headset developed for the application meets ergonomic and conceptual requirements designed for the target group. To provide ideal wearing comfort, the headset is adaptable to different head sizes. Anxiety disorders occur in every age group, so the size can vary greatly. Also, although the device is used at home, it is supposed to be “hairstyle friendly.” To find the perfect shape, we looked at headsets in comparable application areas. Using mood boards and sketches, we came up with the final idea for a comfortable and practical device.

The main focus for home use is, of course, a high level of wearing comfort. This also means that users are able to put on the headset without assistance if necessary – this should be possible without difficulty. In addition, it can be stowed easily while saving space. In order to track the results, a connection with computer, tablet or smartphone is designed to be simple.

Precision for optimal results

From a medical technology perspective, the positioning of the electrodes is crucial to obtain the most precise results. For this, the 10-20 system was considered, which allows comparable data to be obtained even with different head shapes and sizes. A microelectrode cluster is located at the top of the head and a reference electrode behind the ear. To ensure consistent measurements, the size adjustment mechanism attached to the earpiece enables a snug fit on the head.

A USB-C charging port allows users to easily charge the headset. On the side is an on and off button with a status LED. Via a wireless connection, the collected data for evaluation is forwarded to a small, round tool that is connected to the computer via USB-C. An LED on the on-off button shows the status here as well.

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Lydia writes about design processes and our medical design projects.

Originally written by Lydia Münstermann, 19. May 2022. Last updated 05. February 2023


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