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Tips for getting good contact quality with the EMOTIV Headset

The most important thing is to make the reference sensors sit firmly and squarely against the bony lump behind your ear (mastoid bone) without and interfering hair. You need to sweep the hair back out of the way and let the contacts hit bare skin. It is also imperative to get the angle and rotation of the ear hook set correctly (you should only need to do it once if you plan to be the only one using the headset). The anatomy in that area is probably the most variable on the entire head. The ear hook allows you to S-bend inwards or outwards so you can adjust the range between where the headset rests and where the plane of the sensors ends up. You can also tilt forward or backward to adjust for the shape of the back of the ear, tilt inwards or outwards to make sure the plane of the sensors is parallel to the skin, and twist around its axis to make the sensors angle forward or backward. It is not trivial to get this right, sometimes it helps to have an assistant. You should be able to feel the two contact points without pressing against the back of the reference arm, and it there are intermittent contacts you can gently press against the rear of the arm to make it contact a little better temporarily while you adjust everything else.

You also need to make sure that at least one other sensor is in contact when first setting up. The easiest ones are the two frontals, generally the left frontal sensor will sit firmly on skin and flash green as soon as the references make contact. Make sure there is no hair trapped under the frontal sensors. We can then use the green indicator to test how well our references are making contact and whether they need more adjustment.

Wiping the sensors with a little saline or fluid will spark the contact up a little earlier. Water (even from the tap) is not a good conductor. If you want to enhance the connection, try something with saline, such as contact lens fluid, or sea-spray hair conditioner. Generally they will make better and better contact over time as you build up a little perspiration under the sensor, and as the skin impedance drops. All sensors require direct skin contact, so yo will need to work them under the hair. The rear sensor usually presents the biggest challenge If you are still having trouble making contact, try putting a drop of contact lens saline onto the hair immediately above the sensor when it is in place – that can kick-start the process and it will stay in good contact thereafter. If it’s close enough to the skin it will always come on eventually, but a bit of help at the start speeds the process.

We will be producing different sensor shapes in the future to address different hair challenges and to increase comfort.

Updated on 25 Mar 2024

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