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07 October 2009

Emotiv Epoc Testing


Back in June I ordered my Epoc. It finally came in Monday and having a headache I decided to wait until today to test it.

The first thing I noticed after receiving the package is that the 'tamper seals' were both broken. At least the box wasn't ripped to shreds like most packages I get from UPS. I wasn't sure what to make of that, but since the product appeared to be intact (and the UPS guy knocked and left) I figured I might as well open the box.



The contents of the box included the headset, the cdrom (containing one PDF and one EXE), a USB dongle, a wall charger, a 2-page printed addendum to the installation instructions contained on the CDROM, a warranty card saying basically DOA or not covered and 2 bottles of contact saline. The box was supposed to include a 'hydrator' as well but upon reading the forums I found out that it was on backorder. Emotiv said the box should have included a notice about it being delayed, but that notice was not present. Also, in my box, there was 1 loose felt pad that had fallen off the headset.


I would have really preferred that my $500 investment include a printed perfect-bound manual, but instead you can only access it once the software is successfully installed.


Getting the headset to fit properly was very problematic. It is supposed to work well over long hair, but I literally spent a full hour trying to get solid green lights (which I never managed to do). One of them was black for a good 1/2 hour so I swapped it with the opposite side and the non-functioning one moved to the other side. I eventually got a partial signal from it. I couldn't get a connection at all while having a ponytail in -- I can't help but think this would have worked much better had I been bald.


Here you can see the final signal strength I settled on. I was never able to get all green.


The Expressiv Suite was interesting. It mostly worked ok. The eyebrows worked the best. Winking and smirking seemed to lag a bit.


The Affectiv Suite was by far the most fun. I spent quite a bit of time trying to control the graph. We were able to do things to raise or lower the excitement levels identified by the black line (and thus the orange one at the bottom). The blue, red and green were a bit more tricky.


The Cognitiv Suite was interesting. Here you see me playing with 'disappear'. Sometimes it seemed a little too responsive -- pushing or pulling without me trying. Other times it wouldn't do it no matter how hard I tried. I did eventually get push, pull, rotate and disappear all to work - but only when I had less than 3 enabled at a time.

Unfortunately, it appears that I will no longer be able to practice as the unit had completely died in under 5 hours. I tried charging it, power cycling it, resetting the dongle, even rebooting. No luck. Start time 12:30. Death time 5:30. Looking at the forums, it seems to be a common problem and people are saying that we have to send it back via the DOA dept. After waiting 4 months, I guess it wouldn't hurt to wait a couple more to actually have a $500 unit able to do more than be a doorstop.






A few more photos are available at http://picasaweb.google.com/malachid/EmotivEpoc#