Using Google Glass, a team of researchers is developing a ‘smart’ portable system that will use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure a person’s brain activity on the go.
The applications for fNIRS are endless — from training air traffic controllers and drone operators to studying how students with disabilities learn best or why different people are more receptive to certain commercials.
“This is a new trend called neuroergonomics. It’s the study of the brain at work — cognitive neuroscience plus human factors,” said Hasan Ayaz, associate research professor at Drexel University. The phrase “neuroergonomics” was coined by the late Raja Parasuraman, former professor at George Mason University and the co-author of the study.
Until now, most studies involving fNIRS took place indoors. A group of Drexel biomedical engineers, in collaboration with researchers at George Mason University, have now brought their portable fNIRS system “into the wild.”
In their study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the researchers successfully measured the brain activity of participants navigating a college campus outdoors. The researchers wanted to compare one group of participants navigating campus with Google Glass to another group using Google Maps on an iPhone.