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Selecting a suitable EEG recording cap

Tutorial
Version 001
10 November 2009

Brain Products GmbH

Contents

Preface ........................................................................................................................................ 5

Chapter 1
1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8

Areas of application and suitable caps ................................................................... 7


EEG .............................................................................................................................7 ERP & EP......................................................................................................................9 EEG & MEG .................................................................................................................11 EEG & TMS................................................................................................................. 12 Combined EEG-fMRI acquisition................................................................................. 13 Brain Computer Interface (BCI)................................................................................... 14 Sleep EEG.................................................................................................................. 16 eXtreme EEG.............................................................................................................. 18

Chapter 2
2.1 2.2 2.3

Other properties - material, size, cut .................................................................... 21


Material..................................................................................................................... 21 Sizes .........................................................................................................................22 Acquisition areas and cuts.........................................................................................23

Appendix A

Overview of areas of application and suitability of caps ....................................... 27

Appendix B
B.1 B.2 B.3 B.4 B.5 B.6 B.7 B.8

Standard models available................................................................................... 29


actiCAP......................................................................................................................29 BrainCap FastnEasy .................................................................................................. 31 BrainCap MR..............................................................................................................33 EasyCap .................................................................................................................... 35 EasyCap active .......................................................................................................... 37 FastnEasy Cap ..........................................................................................................39 FastnEasy MEG ......................................................................................................... 41 FastnEasy TMS..........................................................................................................43

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Caps, electrodes, applications

Brain Products GmbH offers a wide range of EEG recording caps that are suitable for a variety of different areas of application. This tutorial is intended to help you to select the cap that best suits your purposes.

All the electrodes used for our caps have Ag/AgCl sensors. Ag/AgCl sensors are characterized by the very best levels of clarity and extremely faithful reproduction. They allow both DC acquisition and acquisition across the entire spectrum of frequencies that occur in the EEG (e.g. brainstem potentials). All the caps presented here are compatible with virtually all EEG amplifiers available on the market. Our caps are also characterized by their long service lives and are extremely comfortable to wear. Our caps can be freely configured with respect to electrode arrangement: You can choose between an arrangement conforming to the international 10/20 system and its extensions, an arrangement using the equidistant system and different montages and entirely custom configured caps.

Common characteristics of all caps

Some caps are available with active electrodes. Active electrodes are equipped with preamplifiers/integrated impedance conversion. You will find a description of the special features of active electrodes in this tutorial.

Active electrodes

If you combine EEG acquisition with other procedures such as fMRI, MEG, TMS or if you wish to acquire EEGs under difficult conditions, you must select a suitable cap. When choosing an EEG cap, a number of different criteria play a role. These include the time taken to prepare the cap, signal quality, versatility and cost factors.

Which cap for what area of application?

If you do not yet know what cap is the best suited to your purpose, we recommend that you read the section in chapter 1 Areas of application and suitable caps that best describes your area of application. If you wish to obtain information on a particular cap, you will find an alphabetical list of all EEG recording caps available from Brain Products GmbH in Appendix B: Standard models available.

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Preface

Preface

1.1

EEG

Requirements from the EEG area of application

EEG acquisition demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow the electrodes to be positioned precisely. They should be easy to prepare and clean.

You can choose from the following caps for EEG acquisition:
X actiCAP

For a detailed description of the actiCAP, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.1 on page 29.
X BrainCap FastnEasy

For a detailed description of the BrainCap FastnEasy, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.2 on page 31.
X EasyCap

For a detailed description of the EasyCap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.4 on page 35.
X EasyCap active

For a detailed description of the EasyCap active, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.5 on page 37.
X FastnEasy Cap

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy Cap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.6 on page 39.

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Areas of application and suitable caps

Areas of application and suitable caps

EEG

Figure 1.1: Suitability of available caps for the EEG area of application

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Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

1.2

ERP & EP

Requirements from the ERP & EP area of application

ERP/EP acquisition demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow the electrodes to be positioned precisely. They should be easy to prepare and clean.

You can choose from the following caps for ERP/EP acquisition:
X actiCAP

For a detailed description of the actiCAP, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.1 on page 29.
X BrainCap FastnEasy

For a detailed description of the BrainCap FastnEasy, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.2 on page 31.
X EasyCap

For a detailed description of the EasyCap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.4 on page 35.
X EasyCap active

For a detailed description of the EasyCap active, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.5 on page 37.
X FastnEasy Cap

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy Cap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.6 on page 39.

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ERP & EP

Figure 1.2: Suitability of available caps for the ERP & EP area of application

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Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

1.3

EEG & MEG

Requirements from the EEG & MEG area of application

MEG acquisition demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow the electrodes to be positioned precisely. In addition, they must be fitted with very flat, demagnetized electrodes.

X For MEG acquisition, you should use the FastnEasy MEG.

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy MEG, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.7 on page 41.

Figure 1.3: Suitability of available caps for the EEG & MEG area of application

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EEG & TMS

1.4

EEG & TMS

Requirements from the EEG & TMS area of application

TMS acquisition demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow the electrodes to be positioned precisely. In addition, they must be fitted with extremely flat, rotatable electrodes.

X For TMS acquisition, you should use the FastnEasy TMS.

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy TMS, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.8 on page 43.

Figure 1.4: Suitability of available caps for the EEG & TMS area of application

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EEG caps | Tutorial

Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

1.5

Combined EEG-fMRI acquisition

Requirements from the EEG & fMRI area of application

In order to protect the test subject, the electrodes used for combined EEG-fMRI acquisition must not touch the subject's skin. To achieve this, the electrode cables must be attached to the exterior of the cap. The electrode cables must also be thermally insulated. Finally, care must be taken to route the cables over paths that are as short and straight as possible.

X For acquiring data safely in an MRI scanner, use the BrainCap MR.

For a detailed description of the BrainCap MR, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.3 on page 33.

Figure 1.5: Suitability of available caps for the EEG & fMRI area of application

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Brain Computer Interface (BCI)

1.6

Brain Computer Interface (BCI)

Requirements from the BCI area of application

BCI acquisition demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow versatile positioning of the electrodes. They should be easy to prepare and clean. In addition, caps used for acquisition which is performed outside a screened EEG cabin must not be susceptible to electromagnetic interference (50 Hz).

You can use the following caps for BCI:


X actiCAP

For a detailed description of the actiCAP, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.1 on page 29.
X BrainCap FastnEasy

For a detailed description of the BrainCap FastnEasy, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.2 on page 31.
X EasyCap

For a detailed description of the EasyCap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.4 on page 35.
X EasyCap active

For a detailed description of the EasyCap active, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.5 on page 37.
X FastnEasy Cap

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy Cap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.6 on page 39.

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Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

Figure 1.6: Suitability of available caps for the BCI area of application

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Sleep EEG

1.7

Sleep EEG

Requirements from the sleep EEG area of application

To acquire EEGs while the test subject is sleeping, you require a very comfortable cap. To ensure the best possible pressure distribution over the head of the subject, it should therefore be possible to insert additional electrode holders in the cap. In addition, the cap must ensure that the electrodes cannot slip. To improve the pressure distribution and allow the test subject to lie comfortably, we can insert additional, empty electrode holders in the cap on request.

You can choose from the following caps for sleep EEG acquisition:
X BrainCap FastnEasy

For a detailed description of the BrainCap FastnEasy, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.2 on page 31.
X EasyCap active

For a detailed description of the EasyCap active, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.5 on page 37.
X FastnEasy Cap

For a detailed description of the FastnEasy Cap, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.6 on page 39.

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Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

Figure 1.7: Suitability of available caps for the sleep EEG area of application

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eXtreme EEG

1.8

eXtreme EEG

Requirements from the eXtreme EEG area of application

Acquisition under difficult conditions demands comfortable, closely fitting and robust caps. The caps should allow the electrodes to be positioned precisely. It should be possible to prepare the caps extremely quickly and they should be resilient against exogenous artifacts (50-Hz interference from the power network, movement artifacts, etc.).

You should use the following caps for EEG acquisition under difficult conditions, such as outside a screened cabin or if the test subject is moving:
X actiCAP

For a detailed description of the actiCAP, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.1 on page 29.
X EasyCap active

For a detailed description of the EasyCap active, please refer to Appendix B, Section B.5 on page 37.

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Chapter 1: Areas of application and suitable caps

Figure 1.8: Suitability of available caps for the eXtreme EEG area of application

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For each cap that is available, you can select between different material types, cap sizes and cuts.

2.1

Material

You can choose between rigid and flexible material. The benefits of the rigid material lie in the fact that the electrodes can be positioned extremely precisely and rest firmly against the surface of the head. In addition, the rigid material dries quickly, is very resilient and has a long service life. The flexible material adapts very well to the shape of the head. In addition, a single flexible cap allows you to cover a wider range of head sizes compared with a cap made from a rigid material.

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Other properties - material. size, cut

2 Other properties - material, size, cut

Sizes

2.2 Sizes

All caps are available in sizes 36 through 62. Flexible caps of sizes 56 and 58 make it possible to perform EEG acquisition for approx. 80 % of all adult test subjects. A range of caps made from rigid material in the sizes 54, 56, 58 and 60 make it possible to perform measurements with virtually any adult. The following table will help you to select the most suitable cap size for your purpose:

Size 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52

Test subject Newborn babies Three-month girls Three-month boys Seven-month girls Seven-month boys Three-year girls Three-year boys Six-year girls Six-year boys, adult women with a small head size Nine-year children, adult men with a small head size Adult women with a normal head size Adult men with a normal head size Adult men with a large head size, adult women with an above-average head size Adult men with an above-average head size

54

56 58 60

62

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Chapter 2: Other properties - material, size, cut

2.3 Acquisition areas and cuts

Each cap is available in a subtemporal and an infracerebral version. The versions differ in respect of their acquisition area. The acquisition area of the subtemporal cap ends below the temporal lobe. The acquisition area of the infracerebral cap goes beyond the cerebrum.

Subtemporal vs. infracerebral

Figure 2.1: Subtemporal version of the EasyCap active

Because the infracerebral cap also has additional, "deep", electrode positions, a better sphere can be calculated from the acquisition results. It is therefore particularly suitable for procedures that require the largest possible distribution of electrodes over the surface of the head. This includes procedures such as CSD and ICA and all source localization procedures (e.g. LORETA).

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Acquisition areas and cuts

Figure 2.2: Infracerebral version of the EasyCap (special electrode arrangement)

The infracerebral cap is also characterized by greater stabilization. In particular, the fit of the occipital and frontal electrodes has been improved. For this reason, we also offer the infracerebral cut in combination with standard electrode arrangements (i.e. all arrangements other than the infracerebral layout) for smaller sizes (36 through 48).

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Chapter 2: Other properties - material, size, cut

Figure 2.3: EasyCap with infracerebral cut and standard electrode arrangement

Please note: If you secure the infracerebral cap with a chin strap, artifacts are produced in the EEG when the test subject moves their mouth during acquisition. In order to avoid this, we recommend using the infracerebral cap with a chest strap.

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Acquisition areas and cuts

All caps are also available in what is known as the asiacut version. The asiacut was specially developed for our Asian customers. Caps with this cut have a particularly good fit and a high degree of comfort for Asian test subjects. Compared with caps using a traditional cut, the firmness of the fit can be significantly improved when acquiring data with Asian test subjects. You will find detailed information on the asiacut on our web site at http://www.brainproducts.com/productdetails.php?id=29&tab=3, under Brochures & Material > document New Cap Shape: Asia Cut better fit, better data.

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Overview: areas of application & suitability of caps

Appendix A: Overview of areas of application and suitability of caps

Appendix B contains an alphabetical list of all the standard cap models available.

B.1

actiCAP

The actiCAP is fitted with active electrodes with impedance conversion. Furthermore, the color-coded LEDs integrated in the electrodes indicate the current electrode transition resistance. This indicator allows you to save additional time when preparing the cap. The threshold values can be programmed using the control software provided. The electrodes for the actiCAP are more expensive than traditional electrodes. Because the electrodes are also somewhat higher, the actiCAP is less comfortable for the test subject when lying down.

Features of the actiCAP

Note to users

Figure B.1: actiCAP

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Standard models available

Appendix B: Standard models available

actiCAP

Technical details

The actiCAP has active electrodes with impedance conversion. The electrodes are plugged into electrode adapters. The electrodes are brought together in the splitter box. The splitter box is connected to the actiCAP ControlBox with a ribbon cable. The actiCAP ControlBox is connected to the amplifier with a ribbon cable.

Replacing electrodes

When you have opened the splitter box, you can carefully remove individual electrodes from the splitter and replace them with new ones.

Figure B.2: actiCAP electrode with LED

Figure B.3: actiCAP ControlBox (A) and splitter box (B)

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.2 BrainCap FastnEasy

The BrainCap FastnEasy is a version of the FastnEasy Cap manufactured specially for Brain Products GmbH. The special features of this cap are the multiple connectors that are matched to the Brain Products EEG amplifiers and the standardized electrode montage. The electrodes of the BrainCap FastnEasy are built-in pin electrodes. The electrode cables are brought together in a connector box that can be connected directly to the EEG amplifier using a ribbon cable. The cap can be prepared quickly. Because the electrodes are fastened into the material directly without using adapters, the BrainCap FastnEasy is extremely comfortable and is characterized by a very precise fit. Furthermore, it is impossible to inadvertently mix up the electrodes during preparation. A suitable BrainVision Recorder workspace is supplied with the cap. The electrodes of the BrainCap FastnEasy cannot be replaced individually.

Features of the BrainCap FastnEasy

Note to users

Figure B.4: BrainCap FastnEasy

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BrainCap FastnEasy

Technical details

The BrainCap FastnEasy is fitted with sintered Ag/AgCl pin electrodes. The electrodes do not have adapters. Instead, they are permanently fastened into the material. If you are using an amplifier of the BrainAmp family, the electrode cables are brought together in the BrainCap Box, that is directly connected to the BrainAmp using a ribbon cable. A special connector adapter is required for connection to all other amplifier models. This is manufactured specially at your request. Because the electrode cables of the BrainCap FastnEasy are grouped together to form a single bundle, it is not possible to replace electrodes individually. Instead, the cap must be returned to the manufacturer if this becomes necessary.

Replacing electrodes

Figure B.5: BrainCap FastnEasy, electrode cables and connector box

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.3 BrainCap MR

The following product features of the BrainCap MR ensure the highest possible levels of safety when acquiring EEG data in an MRI scanner: The cap is fitted with externally secured cables. Securing the cables in this way prevents the formation of dangerous loops. Because the cables run around the exterior of the cap, they do not come into contact with the surface of the test subject's skin. Furthermore, the electrodes have a special thermal insulation and are extremely flat. To protect the test subject, the electrodes and the splitter box of the BrainCap MR feature built-in 5-kOhm safety resistors. The separate ECG electrode features a built-in 15-kOhm safety resistor and an additional plastic sheath. Alongside safety and reliability, the BrainCap MR guarantees high levels of data quality, as neither the electrodes nor the cables cause any artifacts in the MR data. The electrodes of the BrainCap MR cannot be replaced individually. In addition, a separate set of electrodes is required for each cap size.

Features of the BrainCap MR

Note to users

Figure B.6: BrainCap MR

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BrainCap MR

Technical details

The BrainCap MR is fitted with Ag/AgCl pellet pin electrodes with built-in 5-kOhm resistors. The electrodes are fastened into the cap without adapters. The electrode cables are secured to the exterior of the cap. The cap is connected to the amplifier via a connector box fitted with 5-kOhm resistors.

Always observe the safety information in the operating instructions for the amplifiers BrainAmp MR, BrainAmp MR plus and BrainAmp ExG MR before using the BrainCap MR in an MRI scanner.

Replacing electrodes

Because the electrode cables of the BrainCap MR are grouped together to form a single bundle, it is not possible to replace electrodes individually. Instead, the cap must be returned to the manufacturer if this becomes necessary.

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.4 EasyCap

The EasyCap is supplied by default with one set of electrodes and two size 56 and 58 cloth caps. Before carrying out measurements, you should determine the head size of the test subject and then select the appropriate cap size and attach the electrode set. If you require further cloth caps in addition to the sizes supplied by default, these can be ordered subsequently without difficulty. The EasyCap is particularly good value for money because several caps (sizes) can be used with a single set of electrodes. In addition, it is easy to replace individual electrodes. Thanks to its modular design, the EasyCap is particularly suited for educational purposes and offers the greatest possible degree of versatility in research projects. The preparation time for the EasyCap is long by comparison, because each of the electrodes must be plugged into the adapters one after another.

Features of the EasyCap

Note to users

Figure B.7: EasyCap

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EasyCap

Technical details

The EasyCap is fitted with Ag/AgCl ring electrodes. The electrodes are plugged into electrode adapters (A06). The cap is connected to the EEG amplifier either using a DIN 1.5 mm touch-proof safety socket connector (B10-S-200) or using a 2 mm pin connector (B10-P-120).

Replacing electrodes

The individual electrodes of the EasyCap can be replaced quickly and easily.

Figure B.8: EasyCap electrode and electrode adapter

Figure B.9: EasyCap electrode with connection plug

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.5 EasyCap active

The EasyCap active is fitted with active electrodes with integrated impedance conversion with the result that you can obtain a very high signal quality even with a comparatively high transition resistance (50 kOhm) between the subject's head and the electrode. Compared with traditional, passive electrodes, this means that the period between preparing the test subject until the start of EEG acquisition can be considerably reduced, particularly when a large number of channels are used for acquisition. The EasyCap active is also extremely resilient against external artifacts. The electrodes for the EasyCap active represent a comparatively expensive solution.

Features of the EasyCap active

Note to users

Figure B.10: EasyCap active

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EasyCap active

Technical details

The actiCAP has active Ag/AgCl pellet electrodes. The electrodes are plugged into electrode adapters. The electrode cables can be grouped together to form a single bundle and terminated in the closed power supply box. Alternatively, the power supply box is also available as the Head Box version. In this case, the individual electrodes are plugged into the inputs of the Head Box. If you are using an amplifier of the BrainAmp family, a ribbon cable (supplied) is used to connect the power supply box to the amplifier. A special connector adapter is required for connection to all other amplifier models. This is manufactured specially at your request.

Replacing electrodes

If you are using the power supply box with electrode cables grouped together to form a single bundle, the individual electrodes can be replaced without soldering after the box has been opened. Individual electrodes can also be replaced without difficulty in the Head Box version of the power supply box.

Figure B.11: EasyCap active electrode

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.6 FastnEasy Cap

With the FastnEasy Cap, you are supplied with a separate set of electrodes for each cap size. The electrodes are permanently fastened into the cap. This considerably reduces the time required for preparing the cap. In addition, it is not possible to inadvertently mix up the electrodes during preparation. The FastnEasy Cap is fitted with pin electrodes with safety connectors to allow the cap to be used in combination with the EIB 64 electrode input box and with other commercially available EEG amplifier head boxes (adapters for different models are available). Because the electrodes are fastened into the material directly without using adapters, the FastnEasy Cap is extremely comfortable and is characterized by a very precise fit. Because a separate set of electrodes is required for each cap size, the FastnEasy Cap is a comparatively expensive solution, but at the same time is very convenient for the user.

Features of the FastnEasy Cap

Note to users

Figure B.12: FastnEasy Cap connected to a BrainAmp using a connector box

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FastnEasy Cap

Technical details

The FastnEasy Cap is fitted with Ag/AgCl pellet pin electrodes. The electrodes are fastened into the cap without adapters. The cap is connected to the EEG amplifier either using a DIN 1.5 mm touch-proof safety socket connector (single connector) or an amplifier-specific connector box (multiple connector). The FastnEasy electrodes are not typical single electrodes as used in the EasyCap or actiCAP. The method used to replace electrodes depends on the way in which the electrode cables are routed: If the electrode cables are grouped together to form a single bundle, it is not possible to replace individual electrodes. The cap must be returned to the manufacturer. If the cap is fitted with electrode cables secured loosely in a cable tie, you can replace individual electrodes by withdrawing them from the cable tie. Where electrode cables are not secured at all, i.e. not bundled together, you can replace individual electrodes easily and quickly.

Replacing electrodes

Figure B.13: FastnEasy electrode

Figure B.14: FastnEasy electrodes in different colors

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.7 FastnEasy MEG

Because its electrodes are extremely flat, the FastnEasy MEG fits in the MEG helmet exceptionally well. The special cable arrangement and the method of securing the cables using plastic threads guarantee high quality MEG acquisition. The electrodes of the FastnEasy MEG are manufactured using a special procedure, which makes them completely demagnetized. Because a separate set of electrodes is required for each cap size, the FastnEasy MEG is a comparatively expensive solution.

Features of the FastnEasy MEG

Note to users

Figure B.15: FastnEasy MEG

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FastnEasy MEG

Technical details

The FastnEasy MEG is fitted with Ag/AgCl pellet pin electrodes. The electrodes are fastened into the cap without adapters. The electrode cables are secured with plastic threads. The cap is connected to the EEG amplifier either using a DIN 1.5 mm touch-proof safety socket connector (single connector) or an amplifier-specific connector box (multiple connector).

Replacing electrodes

The method used to replace electrodes depends on the way in which the electrode cables are routed: If the electrode cables are grouped together to form a single bundle, it is not possible to replace individual electrodes. The cap must be returned to the manufacturer. If the cap is fitted with electrode cables secured loosely in a cable tie, you can replace individual electrodes by withdrawing them from the cable tie. Where electrode cables are not secured at all, i.e. not bundled together, you can replace individual electrodes easily and quickly.

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Appendix B: Standard models available

B.8 FastnEasy TMS

The extremely flat electrodes of the FastnEasy TMS make it possible to place the magnetic coil very close to the surface of the test subject's head. The electrodes can be freely rotated, so that you can easily change the positions of the electrode cables. If you wish to use only a small number of channels or wish to work with a variable application point, you can rotate the electrode cables away from the application point without difficulty.

Features of the FastnEasy TMS

Figure B.16: FastnEasy TMS

In addition to the standard version of the FastnEasy TMS, you can request that the electrode cables are secured with plastic threads in the arrangement you require. This special version is particularly suitable for working with a large number of channels or for working with an identical application point.

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FastnEasy TMS

Figure B.17: FastnEasy TMS, securing the cables using plastic threads

Note to users

If you are using a cap where the cables are not secured, you must rearrange the cables for each new test subject. If the cables are secured with plastic threads reconfiguration involves considerable effort.

Technical details

The FastnEasy TMS is fitted with Ag/AgCl pellet pin electrodes. The electrodes are fastened into the cap without adapters. The cap is connected to the EEG amplifier using a DIN 1.5 mm touch-proof safety socket connector (single connector).

Replacing electrodes

Where electrode cables are not secured, you can replace individual electrodes easily and quickly. If you are using electrodes with cables secured using plastic threads, you can replace individual electrodes by carefully releasing them from the securing points.

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