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Re: [buildcheapeeg] current issues

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  • Rob Sacks
    Hi Tom, What a pleasure to get this message from you! It filled me with encouragement and motivation to know that somebody with so much experience and
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 20, 2000
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      Hi Tom,

      What a pleasure to get this message from you! It filled
      me with encouragement and motivation to know that
      somebody with so much experience and knowledge
      is involved.

      I'll just quickly answer the software questions
      that relate to me personally. Then gotta go to bed and
      get up early, driving to Synchronicity Foundation
      tomorrow for eight days to play with high-tech
      kundalini.

      My committment to the project is to write the PC
      program. This will be a commercial-quality
      application written in Visual C++.

      Actually, it's partly written already. The current
      version does a brain mirror and phase coherence
      based on FFT. It does not yet have digital filters for
      fast threshholding, an interface for inputting protocols,
      or any kind of sound or light production. In other
      words, at the moment it's a profiling tool, not a
      feedback tool.

      If nobody else volunteers, I might be willing to write
      microprocessor code, but I kinda hope somebody else
      volunteers. :)

      > As I work with consultants all the time, it is important
      > for anyone contributing to a project like this to have
      > comfort with the level of integrity of the participants...

      I'm not sure exactly what you're thinking of, but this
      comment reminds me to make sure everybody knows
      that I am simultanenously involved in a separate, second
      EEG project.

      This other project is (at the moment) a hardware/software
      development effort. The particpants plan to raise money
      and start a company to market this device. The reason I
      have software partly written to donate to the CheapEEG
      project, is that I'm using the same code to test some ideas
      for the other commercial project. At some point it may
      turn out that I have to separate this code into two codebases,
      one of which would be public domain for the CheapEEG,
      and the other would be proprietary and sold by the startup
      company.

      I want to make sure everybody is comfortable with this
      because I can imagine the following scenario taking place,
      and it might seem sleazy. The scenario would be that I
      donate free code to the CheapEEG; it will be a pretty good
      program; but at the same time, a more powerful version of
      the program would be on sale by an unrelated, for-profit
      company. So in effect, the CheapEEG project woudl be sort
      of marketing a for-profit product sold by a separate company.

      On the other hand, wht might make it less sleazy would be
      if I put the CheapEEG version entirely in the public domain
      so anybody can make a derivative work from it. But I would
      want to clear this with my partners in the other project.

      If I drop out of this thread for the next week or so, it's only
      because I left for Virginia before seeing replies. I don't
      expect to have email there.

      Regards,

      Rob







      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Thomas Carr" <tomcarr@...>
      To: <buildcheapeeg@egroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 12:22 PM
      Subject: [buildcheapeeg] current issues


      > Hi Yaniv, Joerg, Rob and everyone,
      >
      > I'm just emailing some basic questions I have at this stage, as I told
      > Yaniv, I don't really have time this year to do R&D but am still interested
      > in the project. As I have said, I have a manufacturing facility in Los
      > Angeles which makes industrial computers and can do this if it is desired.
      > My true interest is in the creation of a reasonable EEG, I think the time
      > has come, and will be happy just to see the product available to all,
      > regardless of my involvement in the creation. However, design and
      > manufacture of a product like this is something I have experience at, so
      > issues are easy for me to see. At this time, I see these issues that raise
      > questions for me:
      >
      > 1. Investment by Joerg and Rob
      > I commend the efforts and time dedication of Joerg and Rob and look forward
      > to this project having postive results for all concerned. As I work with
      > consultants all the time, it is important for anyone contributing to a
      > project like this to have comfort with the level of integrity of the
      > participants, so I would suggest that these issues are important for anyone
      > doing work, it's an investment of your time, so be specific on these issues
      > (ie, value your work), don't wait and expect everything will work out to
      > your satisfaction. Increased communication is the key on this issue.
      >
      > 2. Amplifiers
      > The amplifiers Joerg is designing don't appear to have any expensive
      > components, I have accounts with most major electronics distributor and so
      > can usually obtain parts at a significant savings to radio shack or even the
      > broad based players like digikey. The parts on the amplifiers will probably
      > be matched by the pcb 'real-estate' cost, and the assembly another equal
      > part. I would guesstimate this at about $10+ per amplifier. I think that
      > Joerg is correct in careful consideration of these amplifiers. Biosystems
      > amplifier concepts are much more sophisticated than Brainmaster and I can
      > say that I've worked with sensor interfaces to micro-processors for about a
      > decade, and this is where systems always fail or perform poorly. It would
      > be wise to understand that this part of the platform will require the most
      > testing and fine tuning. If we succeed in a big way here, we will have an
      > excellent product. But tweaking this can take a lot if time.
      >
      > 3. A/d
      > Is there a current plan regarding the a/d? biosemi uses a 16 bit, I'm not
      > sure that an 8 bit won't due, has anyone looked into this? as we are
      > measuring brainwaves from 1-40hz, it would seem that 8 bit would easily give
      > us .2 hz resolution, which should be adequate, is my thinking correct? A 16
      > bit bus may increase costs.
      >
      > 4. channels
      > as well, how many input channels are we thinking of? brainmaster has 2
      > channel, but if we create the amplifiers in a modular format, we could have
      > up to 8 channels pretty easily, I don't know the performance value of this,
      > but it would seem that more than 2 channels would increase value and
      > application and a basic system could then be increased easily by adding more
      > amplifier modules. Typically, then, within the chassis we might put 2
      > amplifiers on the motherboard and then have headers for adding amplifier
      > modules.
      >
      > 5.opto-isolation
      > In the biosemi system, they multiplex the A/D through fiber optics and then
      > use a pc card to interface the data, this is of course a very expensive way
      > to go (not in general but within the $ parameters of this project). A key
      > here is the opto-isolation. Bio-system is using fiber optics, when I asked
      > Tom Collura, he suggested a "comercial opto-isolator", does anyone have any
      > imput on this? The idea, as I've dealt with this before but in other
      > circumstances, is that we have a small potential on the amplifier side for
      > safety and use the opto-isolators to isolate from the pc side.
      >
      > 6.comm method
      > It appears you are focused more towards rs232 and 485, rather than a pc card
      > like the biosystem uses, in which case we can use the parrallel port on a pc
      > to accept signal data. The maxims 232 (or233) chips are pretty standard, we
      > can reduce to 3 wire interface if we take it down to 485 using a 75176. If
      > we use the right micro-processor, we don't have to add a uart, there are
      > uarts on board, so this saves $, too.
      >
      > 7. 3 parts to software
      > Does Joerg have a micro-processor in mind and is he writing that software.
      > Or is Rob writing the PC software and the micro-processor software? Then,
      > there is the comm software itself, the micro-processor is usually
      > self-sufficient and the PC is also, the comm process is the link.
      > Which software is Rob using for the PC? I know comm functions on visual
      > Basic are pretty straightforward, but you typically have to drop the data
      > into a database that your user interface then accesses. Visual C++ is
      > certainly infinitely more capable, but much more complex to write as well
      > unless you already have some adaptable software. This is absolutely where
      > the most time investment will take place, and I mean A LOT of time.
      >
      > 8. the pcb
      > Does Joerg have CAD capability for schematic capture and PCB layout, though
      > I don't have too much time, this is a very important aspect to a product's
      > longterm reliability and robustness, as well as maintaining cost
      > considerations. As stated before, while I don't have the time to do the R&D
      > this year, I can probably do the board layout work for the project when it
      > gets to that stage if no one else has capabilities and experience (and after
      > doing several motherboards, I can say experience is key, probably why Tom
      > Collura used a pre-made board). So, in this way, I can take the product
      > from prototype to successful manufacture. I interject now as this is a very
      > important step, good to have a tentative plan in advance.
      >
      > 9. major components cost estimate
      > we have to have these components which are pricey: micro-processor($5),
      > ram($3), rom ($3), 232 ($4), power supply transformer ($8), opto-isolation
      > (?), a/d($5), pcb ($15), box ($7), LED's and switches ($5), assembly/tech
      > ($30), misc parts ($5-10). If we go with a mpu that has ram and rom
      > onboard, we may have to get a uart ($5) so the tradeoffs have to be
      > considered. With 2 amplifiers, the cost is up to about $100. Typically in
      > manufacturing, you'd figure at least a 2:1 ratio for other costs compared to
      > COGS, so we're looking at about $300, this all depends on volume, which
      > won't be large as we are starting from scratch with no resources. So, while
      > this is much cheaper than $1000 for the 2 channel brainmaster, it's not
      > $100. Basically, if you remember, Yaniv, this was what I suggested the sale
      > price would be at the start of this project. I welcome correction in my
      > estimate. What is the other $200 for? basically overhead, marketing,
      > distribution and income for those who are investing their valued time- at
      > this point, these are all theoretical. If you go through distribution, they
      > mark up, which is figured as a discount off the list price (list price is
      > $300, they get 40% off = $180 to the wholesaler). Typically, the
      > manufacturer makes more than the wholesaler, so this would raise the sale
      > price to $400. Welcome to the world of manufacturing :) As I said, good to
      > look at this ahead of time, I value everyone and feel they deserve to be
      > compensated accordingly. And it's good to take a look at these issues before
      > they become issues :)
      >
      > even a prototype run of 25 will cost $3-4000 as you have to purchase parts
      > in quantity and there are engineering start up charges, where is this budget
      > coming from, which says nothing about promotional costs which will be just
      > as much just to get started. underestimating it won't change the bottom
      > line.
      >
      > best regards, tom carr
      > tomcarr@...
      > www.piercingtheveil.com
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > buildcheapeeg-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      >
      >
      >
    • Rob Sacks
      Hi again, I just reread the message I sent a minute ago and ... I should have made clear that this device (the device to be sold by the other project I m
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 20, 2000
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        Hi again,

        I just reread the message I sent a minute ago and
        realized that the following line is unclear:

        > This other project is (at the moment) a hardware/software
        > development effort. The particpants plan to raise money
        > and start a company to market this device...

        I should have made clear that "this device" (the device to
        be sold by the other project I'm involved with) has nothing
        to do with the CheapEEG project. It's entirely different
        hardware being designed at the present time by an engineer
        who is working on that other project.

        Regards,

        Rob
      • Steven Ness
        Hi All, Wow! I m very excited by this last set of emails, what a cool project! I d just like to volunteer to help with any software development that needs to
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 21, 2000
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          Hi All,

          Wow! I'm very excited by this last set of emails, what a cool project!

          I'd just like to volunteer to help with any software development that
          needs to be done. I have lots of experience with coding on Linux, mostly
          high level scientific and GUI programming, but also some kernel
          hacking. I've done lots of C++ and lots of C programming.


          Steven.
          sness@...
        • Rob Sacks
          Hi Steve, Great! Sounds like maybe we should think about dividing the work between us or something? My problem here is that I have to maintain complete
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 21, 2000
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            Hi Steve,

            Great! Sounds like maybe we should think about
            dividing the work between us or something? My
            problem here is that I have to maintain complete
            authorship over all the vital components of the
            program I'm writing because I have to keep the
            option open of using it for the second, separate
            commercial project I'm involved with simultaneously.
            This is very awkward. :(

            Pretending for the moment that that problem
            doesn't exist, here are a couple of things it would
            be very nice to have help with:

            -- Better digital filters. For the first draft, I'm
            planning to implement a quadrature filter wrapped
            around a Butterworth or elliptical IIR filter. The
            IIR filter will be lowpass fixed-frequency, and
            the quadrature stuff will shift the effective frequency
            to whatever arbitrary frequency is requested by
            the user.

            I have no idea if this is the best way to do this, I'm
            new to DSP. (This is how Tom Collura does it in his
            BrainMaster program. I'm just following his example.)

            -- I would love for us to have at least one really cool
            game for feedback. Events in the game, or the relative
            difficulty of inputting commands, would
            depend on where the brainwaves are in relation to
            threshholds. (This could be totally separate from the
            app I've started writing. Maybe we could work on
            this together? )

            I'm leaving in a few hours for eight days and won't
            have email, so if you don't hear back from me, please
            don't take it personally. I'll be in touch again in
            a little over a week.

            Regards,

            Rob





            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Steven Ness" <sness@...>
            To: <buildcheapeeg@egroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2000 10:30 AM
            Subject: Re: [buildcheapeeg] current issues


            > Hi All,
            >
            > Wow! I'm very excited by this last set of emails, what a cool project!
            >
            > I'd just like to volunteer to help with any software development that
            > needs to be done. I have lots of experience with coding on Linux, mostly
            > high level scientific and GUI programming, but also some kernel
            > hacking. I've done lots of C++ and lots of C programming.
            >
            >
            > Steven.
            > sness@...
            >
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > buildcheapeeg-unsubscribe@egroups.com
            >
            >
            >
          • Joerg Hansmann
            Hi Thomas, ... From: Thomas Carr To: buildcheapeeg Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 6:22 PM Subject:
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 22, 2000
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              Hi Thomas,

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Thomas Carr <tomcarr@...>
              To: buildcheapeeg <buildcheapeeg@egroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 6:22 PM
              Subject: [buildcheapeeg] current issues


              > Hi Yaniv, Joerg, Rob and everyone,
              >
              > I'm just emailing some basic questions I have at this stage, as I told
              > Yaniv, I don't really have time this year to do R&D but am still interested
              > in the project. As I have said, I have a manufacturing facility in Los
              > Angeles which makes industrial computers and can do this if it is desired.
              > My true interest is in the creation of a reasonable EEG, I think the time
              > has come, and will be happy just to see the product available to all,
              > regardless of my involvement in the creation. However, design and
              > manufacture of a product like this is something I have experience at, so
              > issues are easy for me to see. At this time, I see these issues that raise
              > questions for me:
              >
              > 1. Investment by Joerg and Rob
              > I commend the efforts and time dedication of Joerg and Rob and look forward
              > to this project having postive results for all concerned. As I work with
              > consultants all the time, it is important for anyone contributing to a
              > project like this to have comfort with the level of integrity of the
              > participants, so I would suggest that these issues are important for anyone
              > doing work, it's an investment of your time, so be specific on these issues
              > (ie, value your work), don't wait and expect everything will work out to
              > your satisfaction. Increased communication is the key on this issue.

              My point of view is as follows:
              I contribute my work to this group for free as long as it is not used
              commercially. That means that schematic, pcb-layout and firmware should be
              treated as freeware for private use, so that anyone who wants to build
              the EEG can freely download the manufacturing infos.

              However I know, that many people, who want to own a low cost eeg do not
              have the tools and experience to manufacture it. Therefore commercial production
              would be desirable as long as it does not exclude the freeware distribution of the
              manufacturing documents for private use.
              Also I would not be unlucky about some adequate compensation per sold device.

              I have offered the brainwaves group to produce RS232EEG-boards fully
              equipped and tested but _without_ casing for about 400,--DEM (ca. 200$)
              in little quantities (<10).

              The production and selling of a complete device with casing seems impossible
              (because very expensive) to me in europe for legal reasons.
              A complete EEG-device would need CE and VDE (etc. ) approval for medical
              devices and such approvals would cost thousands of DEM or $.

              I do not know about the laws in USA concerning medical devices and what
              would happen, if a customer in europe imports such a device. But these things
              should be evaluated carefully.

              If production in greater scale ( >100 ) seems realistic, the fees for approval
              per device would be reasonably low.

              BTW: Has anyone made a market analysis ?


              > 2. Amplifiers
              > The amplifiers Joerg is designing don't appear to have any expensive
              > components, I have accounts with most major electronics distributor and so
              > can usually obtain parts at a significant savings to radio shack or even the
              > broad based players like digikey. The parts on the amplifiers will probably
              > be matched by the pcb 'real-estate' cost, and the assembly another equal
              > part. I would guesstimate this at about $10+ per amplifier. I think that
              > Joerg is correct in careful consideration of these amplifiers. Biosystems
              > amplifier concepts are much more sophisticated

              Are there any infos available about the technical specifications of the Biosystems
              amplifiers ? (noise, gain, etc.)


              > than Brainmaster and I can
              > say that I've worked with sensor interfaces to micro-processors for about a
              > decade, and this is where systems always fail or perform poorly. It would
              > be wise to understand that this part of the platform will require the most
              > testing and fine tuning. If we succeed in a big way here, we will have an
              > excellent product. But tweaking this can take a lot if time.
              >
              > 3. A/d
              > Is there a current plan regarding the a/d?

              Yes. The AT90S443 processor utilized in the current prototype of RS232EEG
              features 10bit AD on 6 channels.

              > biosemi uses a 16 bit, I'm not
              > sure that an 8 bit won't due, has anyone looked into this?

              Noise is one limiting factor and full-scale input voltage the other.
              i.e. if we have 200uV full-scale input and a noise level (RTI) of
              2.5uVpp 7 bits AD-resolution would be fully sufficient. Any bit more
              would be random noise.
              On the other hand with more bits of resolution the gain of the
              analog part could be reduced and the full-scale input voltage could
              be increased.

              What input voltage range have the other devices like the brainmaster ?


              > as we are
              > measuring brainwaves from 1-40hz, it would seem that 8 bit would easily give
              > us .2 hz resolution, which should be adequate, is my thinking correct?

              AFAIK the hz-resolution does not depend on the AD-resolution but
              on the sample frequency and the number of samples used for the fft.

              > A 16
              > bit bus may increase costs.

              Most AD-converters dont use parallel ports but serial 3 wire interfacing . So the
              pcb-layout would not become more expensive.

              > 4. channels
              > as well, how many input channels are we thinking of? brainmaster has 2
              > channel, but if we create the amplifiers in a modular format, we could have
              > up to 8 channels pretty easily,

              The RS232EEG prototype has 2 channels with EEG-amplifiers on board.
              4 channels are free and could be used for eeg with an amplifier add-on board.

              > I don't know the performance value of this,
              > but it would seem that more than 2 channels would increase value and
              > application and a basic system could then be increased easily by adding more
              > amplifier modules. Typically, then, within the chassis we might put 2
              > amplifiers on the motherboard and then have headers for adding amplifier
              > modules.
              >

              > 5.opto-isolation
              > In the biosemi system, they multiplex the A/D through fiber optics and then
              > use a pc card to interface the data, this is of course a very expensive way
              > to go (not in general but within the $ parameters of this project). A key
              > here is the opto-isolation. Bio-system is using fiber optics, when I asked
              > Tom Collura, he suggested a "comercial opto-isolator", does anyone have any
              > imput on this?

              On the RS232EEG 2 opto-isolators (6n139 by Agilent, former HP) are used.
              They have following safety approvals:
              UL Recognized - 2500 V rms for 1 Minute and 5000 V rms* for 1 Minute per UL 1577
              CSA Approved
              VDE 0884 Approved with VIORM = 1414 V peak for HCNW139 and HCNW138
              BSI Certified (HCNW139 and HCNW138)

              However I dont know if this is enough for medical applications.

              Another critical component is the DCDC-converter (TMA0505S, Traco Power Products)

              > The idea, as I've dealt with this before but in other
              > circumstances, is that we have a small potential on the amplifier side for
              > safety and use the opto-isolators to isolate from the pc side.
              >
              > 6.comm method
              > It appears you are focused more towards rs232 and 485, rather than a pc card
              > like the biosystem uses, in which case we can use the parrallel port on a pc
              > to accept signal data. The maxims 232 (or233) chips are pretty standard, we
              > can reduce to 3 wire interface

              It is RS232 - 3 wire (RxD,TxD, GND) right now.

              > if we take it down to 485 using a 75176. If
              > we use the right micro-processor, we don't have to add a uart, there are
              > uarts on board, so this saves $, too.

              The AT90S4433 has a UART on chip.


              > 7. 3 parts to software
              > Does Joerg have a micro-processor in mind and is he writing that software.

              A simple version of the software for the AT90S4433 micro-processor
              is ready. I have posted it in the file area of buildcheapeeg. However it has beta
              state and may have some bugs.

              > Or is Rob writing the PC software and the micro-processor software? Then,
              > there is the comm software itself, the micro-processor is usually
              > self-sufficient and the PC is also, the comm process is the link.
              > Which software is Rob using for the PC? I know comm functions on visual
              > Basic are pretty straightforward, but you typically have to drop the data
              > into a database that your user interface then accesses. Visual C++ is
              > certainly infinitely more capable, but much more complex to write as well
              > unless you already have some adaptable software. This is absolutely where
              > the most time investment will take place, and I mean A LOT of time.
              >
              > 8. the pcb
              > Does Joerg have CAD capability for schematic capture and PCB layout, though
              > I don't have too much time, this is a very important aspect to a product's
              > longterm reliability and robustness, as well as maintaining cost
              > considerations.

              Yes . I have used EAGLE-CAD by CADSOFT. The schematics and PCB layout
              is posted in the file area. CADSOFT offers a freeware version of eagle on their
              homepage for downloading. This version can be used for printing the PCB on
              a laserprinter or generate gerber/excellon output files

              > As stated before, while I don't have the time to do the R&D
              > this year, I can probably do the board layout work for the project when it
              > gets to that stage if no one else has capabilities and experience (and after
              > doing several motherboards, I can say experience is key, probably why Tom
              > Collura used a pre-made board). So, in this way, I can take the product
              > from prototype to successful manufacture. I interject now as this is a very
              > important step, good to have a tentative plan in advance.
              >
              > 9. major components cost estimate
              > we have to have these components which are pricey: micro-processor($5),

              AT90S4433 RISC processor about 8$

              > ram($3)

              not required

              >, rom ($3)

              not required

              > 232 ($4),
              > power supply transformer ($8),

              Alternatives are +5V from the gamport or from USB
              (USB could be used instead of RS232 with an additional USB-controller)

              > opto-isolation (?),

              > a/d($5),
              not required

              > pcb ($15), box ($7), LED's and switches ($5), assembly/tech
              > ($30), misc parts ($5-10). If we go with a mpu that has ram and rom
              > onboard, we may have to get a uart ($5) so the tradeoffs have to be
              > considered.

              The AT90S4433 has RAM ROM and UART on chip.

              > With 2 amplifiers, the cost is up to about $100. Typically in
              > manufacturing, you'd figure at least a 2:1 ratio for other costs compared to
              > COGS, so we're looking at about $300, this all depends on volume, which
              > won't be large as we are starting from scratch with no resources. So, while
              > this is much cheaper than $1000 for the 2 channel brainmaster, it's not
              > $100. Basically, if you remember, Yaniv, this was what I suggested the sale
              > price would be at the start of this project. I welcome correction in my
              > estimate. What is the other $200 for? basically overhead, marketing,
              > distribution and income for those who are investing their valued time- at
              > this point, these are all theoretical. If you go through distribution, they
              > mark up, which is figured as a discount off the list price (list price is
              > $300, they get 40% off = $180 to the wholesaler). Typically, the
              > manufacturer makes more than the wholesaler, so this would raise the sale
              > price to $400. Welcome to the world of manufacturing :) As I said, good to
              > look at this ahead of time, I value everyone and feel they deserve to be
              > compensated accordingly.

              Good idea ;-)

              And it's good to take a look at these issues before
              > they become issues :)
              >
              > even a prototype run of 25 will cost $3-4000 as you have to purchase parts
              > in quantity and there are engineering start up charges, where is this budget
              > coming from, which says nothing about promotional costs which will be just
              > as much just to get started. underestimating it won't change the bottom
              > line.
              >

              best regards,

              Joerg
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