High-quality, Quick-apply Electroencephalography (EEG) for Improved Diagnosis of Brain Disorders
Award last edited on: 4/10/2022

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Shawn Kelly

Company Information

Precision Neuroscopics Inc

4620 Henry Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Institution

Carnegie Mellon University

Phase I

Contract Number: 1843859
Start Date: 2/15/2019    Completed: 1/31/2020
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
This SBIR Phase I project will advance novel techniques for developing high-resolution noninvasive brain imaging systems, capable of recording unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution inferences of the brain activity for a portable system. These systems leverage novel fundamental analysis and results, and experimental demonstrations, that show that spatial resolution of Electroencephalography (EEG) is not saturated at densities of a few hundred electrodes, unlike what has been widely believed in clinical and neuroscience community. They also build on recent work by the PIs that enables faster and reliable acquisition of EEG signals. The success of the proposed work will help diagnose worsening brain injuries before the injury occurs. Brain injuries affect 1.7 million Americans every year. Commercially, it will enable higher resolution brain-machine interfaces for applications such as virtual reality interfacing and neuroprostheses, generating novel avenues for jobs and revenue through creation of an entirely new industry. This transdisciplinary effort brings together neuroscientists and engineers and the concepts developed in this effort will inform material for basic neuroscience and neuroengineering courses. The team will continue to publish and publicize their work at clinical conferences. One of the core employees will be a minority female who has contributed to the research, guided several other minority (and non-minority) female students, and now wants to lead the development end of this project.This effort builds a systematic platform that challenges the widely held belief that increasing electrode-densities of EEG to beyond a few hundred electrodes does not improve spatial resolution. There are several problems with the traditional EEG that the platform overcomes: (i) typically only 9-32 electrodes are used for clinical diagnoses and these are fundamentally limited to only providing poor spatial resolution; (ii) because traditional EEGs have low resolution, surgical treatments often require invasive procedures. E.g., for diagnosing severity or worsening of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) by measuring parameters of cortical spreading depolarizations (CSDs), which are mediators of worsening brain injuries; (iii) long-term EEG measurements are cumbersome, and high-density systems can take hours of manual labor to install. The PIs' preliminary work provides strong evidence supporting the claim that ultra-high-density EEG will provide the first non-invasive and portable modality for high spatial and temporal resolution brain imaging. Novel brain-imaging algorithms will be developed and benchmarked against existing techniques and assessed using novel fundamental limits. Novel techniques will be deployed in the design of conductive sponges and in lowering power, enabling the platform to be portable and usable over long term. These improvements will be rigorously tested through simulations, experiments, and real data analysis.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Phase II

Contract Number: 2111735
Start Date: 9/15/2021    Completed: 8/31/2023
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2).The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will produce a high?quality, easily?applied cap for non?invasively measuring brain signals from the scalp by electroencephalography (EEG). This cap will reduce the setup time for an EEG procedure from 30 minutes to less than 5 minutes. This reduction in setup time will speed up procedures and reduce demand on specialized EEG technicians. Many geographic regions have wait times for EEG appointments of 4?6 weeks; This wait will be alleviated by faster procedures and higher throughput. Additionally, the EEG cap designed in this project will increase accessibility of EEG to rural communities that don’t often have regular access to these technicians. Economically, the hospitals and clinics that perform EEG can reduce cost per procedure by reducing demand for EEG rooms and technician time. This reduction in EEG procedure costs is a small step towards controlling and reducing overall healthcare costs. This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project is developing EEG platforms that will be used to explore new brain diagnostic algorithms. The project is introducing a novel electrode material to EEG, specifically, a soft sponge?like material that holds water for a longer time than typical sponges, yet conducts electricity when dry. This EEG system also uses miniature printed circuit boards to hold amplifiers near each electrode. These circuit boards can be reconfigured, removing electrodes over scalp regions of recent injury or surgery. More importantly, the EEG cap resulting from this project can be scaled up (simply by adding more electrodes) to explore very high?density EEG and novel algorithms for better diagnosing brain injuries and diseases. In particular, this project will provide hardware that enables new ways of looking at epilepsy and traumatic brain injuries.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.