Background: Registration of brain activity has become increasingly popular and offers a way to identify the mental state of the user, prevent inappropriate workload, and control other devices by means of brain-computer interfaces. However, electroencephalography (EEG) is often related to user acceptance issues regarding the measuring technique. Meanwhile, emerging mobile EEG technology offers the possibility of gel-free signal acquisition and wireless signal transmission. Nonetheless, user experience research about the new devices is lacking.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate user experience aspects of emerging mobile EEG devices and, in particular, to investigate wearing comfort and issues related to emotional design.
Methods: We considered 7 mobile EEG devices and compared them for their wearing comfort, type of electrodes, visual appearance, and subjects’ preference for daily use. A total of 24 subjects participated in our study and tested every device independently of the others. The devices were selected in a randomized order and worn on consecutive day sessions of 60-min duration. At the end of each session, subjects rated the devices by means of questionnaires.
Results: Results indicated a highly significant change in maximal possible wearing duration among the EEG devices (χ26=40.2, n=24; P<.001). Regarding the visual perception of devices’ headset design, results indicated a significant change in the subjects’ ratings (χ26=78.7, n=24; P<.001). Results of the subjects’ ratings regarding the practicability of the devices indicated highly significant differences among the EEG devices (χ26=83.2, n=24; P<.001). Ranking order and posthoc tests offered more insight and indicated that pin electrodes had the lowest wearing comfort, in particular, when coupled with a rigid, heavy headset. Finally, multiple linear regression for each device separately revealed that users were not willing to accept less comfort for a more attractive headset design.
Conclusions: The study offers a differentiated look at emerging mobile and gel-free EEG technology and the relation between user experience aspects and device preference. Our research could be seen as a precondition for the development of usable applications with wearables and contributes to consumer health informatics and health-enabling technologies. Furthermore, our results provided guidance for the technological development direction of new EEG devices related to the aspects of emotional design.
The complete article is published in the journal "JMIR mHealth and uHealth" (2019).
T. Radüntz, B. Meffert:
User Experience of 7 Mobile Electroencephalography Devices: Comparative Study.
in: JMIR mHealth and uHealth, Volume 7, Issue 9, e14474 2019. pages 1-18, Project number: F 2402, PDF file, DOI: 10.2196/14474