eBook: Simplest way to use EPOC & EEGLAB to analyze brainwaves

Working on an upcoming eBook, here is the non-edited raw version of the Preface. Please stay tuned for the edited version coming soon.

Preface

This is an eBook that I wished I had when I was doing my grad studies. I was trying to map the human brainwaves during information/knowledge seeking processes and was quite overwhelmed by the issues that I had to face using specific hardware and software in order to complete my studies. If you are someone who is interested in human brainwaves and want to learn one specific way to collect and analyze these brainwaves data, then this eBook is for you!

By the end of this eBook, you will feel confident and uplifted enough to autonomously collect, analyze, and visualize raw brainwaves (EEG) data. You will also feel confident to expand on the scope of this eBook and showcase your EEG data analysis and mapping. 

More specifically, this eBook will show you the mechanics of collecting raw EEG data, using the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset, as well as going through the mechanics of processing and visualizing the data, using the EEGLAB MATLAB compiled version. This eBook, however, does not cover how to exactly interpret the data, as it differs drastically from case to case. You would need some neuroscience, more specifically EEG, background and training in order to, for example, conduct artifacts rejection, etc.

When I was doing grad studies, I was overwhelmed by not only the research work that I had to do but also by all kinds of responsibilities that I had as a PhD student. I remember feeling extremely isolated because what I was trying to do had not been done in my field. This is a common experience in grad studies because, by definition, you are supposed to work on unique research questions in order to add unique value/solution to the body of knowledge. The last thing I needed was additional worries, such as issues with research equipment, hardware, software, etc.

While my research questions were quite intuitive to me, the research equipment that I needed to use was not as straightforward. It was not about a product per se but the compatibility issues among them. My whole dissertation was based on mapping brainwaves during the information/knowledge seeking process and so, as a result, I was pretty doomed to either make it work or call it quits. I used to spend month after month reading all kinds of Emotiv Forum community Q&A, watching endless YouTube videos, reading masses of how-to EEGLAB documents to try to figure out how to get my EPOC neuroheadset work with EEGLAB. 

You may wonder why I chose EPOC & EEGLAB to start with. Well, for three reasons: 1) I had no idea that there would be compatibility issues when using these products, more specifically for the research questions that I was trying to answer, 2) they both were great compact products for the purpose of what I was trying to do and 3) I had a limited budget, as I was funding my own research and could not afford expensive products. 

In hindsight, I am happy I did what I did. But, at the time, I used to feel extremely frustrated and helpless. To be honest, my methodology chapter took over two years to complete mainly because of all the issues I faced. I am not claiming to be an expert in anything. I am only sharing what I learned based on my own experiences, hoping that it will help at least one person who is experiencing frustrations, the way I did a few years ago.


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