by Lydia Timm, Ph.D.
Scientific Consultant (Brain Products)
As you know, Brain Products always endeavors to improve your research experience. We are continuously working on new product developments and innovative ideas to improve our existing products. Therefore we are pleased to announce that we have optimized the electrode layouts for our actiCAP and actiCHamp electrode caps. In order to unify the cap design and to make the caps more flexible in their usage we have decided on a new unified cap layout, the so called Unified Optimized Layout (UOL). Of course, the new design is still based on an extended international 10-20 localization system.
In the past Brain Products used different standard cap layouts for the actiCHamp and actiCAP active electrode system caps. The actiCAP cap followed a pattern starting in the front and then going left to right, line by line to the back. The actiCHamp layout starts left frontal and works its way around the head to right frontal. Thereby keeping neighboring channels at neighboring positions on the head.
The major advantage of the new unified cap layout (see below) is the new assignment of physical channel numbers to cap positions. That is, we implemented a routing that considers the cabling from the splitter box into the cap, resulting in a much tidier arrangement of cables. This reduces the possibility of cable-pull when the cap is put on the subject. It improves the usability of CapTrak for very high channel counts as there are less cables on the head that could cover an LED. Last but not least it gives a cleaner look, especially for high channel count caps.
In addition all caps will now have a ring holder for a possible reference electrode. So far that was only available for the actiCAP. The actiCHamp user does normally not need an additional reference electrode. However, to use the actiCAP ControlBox you would need a dedicated reference channel. Why would an actiCHamp user want to use the actiCAP ControlBox?
Frequently there is time pressure in research. Many subjects need to be recorded in a short period of time. An active electrode system allows for short preparation times and hence is very helpful for this endeavor. Still, with all active systems the amplifier is needed to do a controlled preparation of the subject. That means that one can only start to prepare the next subject once the other subject is finished with the experiment and out of the recording space. With the actiCAP you can prepare the cap before (populate it with electrodes and put it on the subject), but it would be desirable to also put in the gel and make sure that we have good contact for all channels.
Now that is exactly what you can do with the actiCAP ControlBox. You are able to prepare the cap outside of the EEG chamber, e.g. at distance from the amplifier itself. Then after successfully preparing, you would plug the flat ribbon cable out of the actiCAP ControlBox and walk your subject to the EEG chamber. As soon as the other subject is done you can plug the cable simply into the actiCHamp and start recording. The “downtime” between subjects can be less than a minute.
For the growing number of users that have both systems, the actiCHamp and the actiCAP may now use the same cap layouts and thus less caps are needed overall.
actiCAP and actiCHamp caps with the new UOL are already available; for those of you who still prefer the “old” cap layouts, these can also still be ordered. Simply mention your preferred layout when placing your order.
©Brain Products GmbH 2016