Have you ever wanted to wear an EEG scanner as you go through your normal day? It may not seem like the ideal wardrobe choice for a cocktail party, but as reported recently on fastcompany.com, A.K. Pradeep and his team of researchers from NeuroFocus in Berkeley, California hope to unlock the secrets of our brains and explain why we choose the products that we do.
On its face, it is a simple idea. Pradeep’s team has developed the world’s first wireless, portable EEG (electroencephalogram) scanner which they have dubbed Mynd. This innovative, lightweight device completely covers the head and, unlike previous models, it does not require messy gel to work properly. It can be worn anywhere and will send a steady stream of real-time data about brain activity via Bluetooth to any device such as a laptop or a mobile phone. The technology will also be combined with data from other sensors on the unit that record what the person is seeing, where they are and who they are with.
NeuroFocus plans to pay a small army people to wear these devices everywhere they go: shopping in the mall, watching TV, using computers or driving down the street. The mountains of data will then be collected by NeuroFocus and analyzed to identify which brands and products the people react positively to, or conversely, which ones turn people off.
The idea of marketers trying to influence what people want, is nothing new. For decades advertisements have conditioned us to buy the large popcorn at the movie theater, buy one brand of beer over another, or pick up an extra chocolate bar at the check-out stand.
Mynd promises to take this research to the next level and give researchers a view of the mind that focus groups and surveys could never dream of. In a very real way, the team of researchers will know about the participants’ minds than they do themselves.
From snack food packaging to measuring responses to new TV shows and pilots, everyone seems to want a piece of the action. NeuroFocus has added some of the top companies in the world to their list of clients including Citi, Google and Microsoft.
The major draw is that, for the most part, our human brains are the same. There are some slight differences between genders and some more between children and senior citizens, but even those differences are easily accounted for. We are essential the same animal. Because of this, researchers can quickly test a dozen people and achieve a higher degree of accuracy than a one-thousand-participant survey. Couple this with the fact that trillions of dollars are spent annually on launching and advertising new products just to see 80% of them fail and you quickly see the appeal.
By using EEG brain scans, billions of data points are collected in real time. The EEG can see what your subconscious starts to think when you hear a word or see a package even before you are consciously aware of it. The data is unfiltered so it gives a clearer view into what your gut reaction really is.
This is a stark contrast to what comes out of a typical focus group where everyone is talking and reacting to each other. Their thoughts are filtered through their conscious mind and then again through their social conventions about what they think they should say. This means that the research is relevant and accurate about what you really want and how you really feel.
The promised of neuromarketing go far beyond the bottom line. Ultimately, consumers are looking for products that satisfy their needs and producers are trying to build products that satisfy those needs.
Noosphere Ventures is excited about any technology that can help both sides fulfill their needs in the most efficient way possible. Technologies like those being created by NeuroFocus continue to open doors for a better world where people have access to the products they need in ways that truly benefit everyone.