The device uses near-infrared functional spectroscopy (TD-fNIRS) to detect emotions, capture the effects of drugs like ketamine, visualize focus, and more.
From the background of its predecessors, the Kernel Flow helmet is distinguished by its adjustable fifty-two modules with lasers surrounded by six hexagonal detectors. Two lasers inside the source emit light at different wavelengths and direct it towards the brain. The detectors pick up the reflected light and then record the time of arrival of the photons.
“TD-fNIRS is considered the gold standard for non-invasive optical brain imaging devices. However, due to its high cost, complexity, and size, it has not become as widespread,” the team wrote in their study, published in January.
The journal Physics World recognized the initial results of Kernel’s research as promising, and also expressed the hope that the availability of brain imaging technology to the public will allow people to better understand themselves and their health.
However, the Flow diagnostic headset is not without limitations: hair texture and skin type can distort its results, and in general it cannot be compared in terms of compactness with the same smart watches and other pocket gadgets.
However, the Kernel team estimates that commercial systems could be available as early as 2024, which could make brain imaging as mainstream as technologies that track sleep, heart rate, and ideomotor.