Student’s research continues to develop at Army Research Laboratory

Ben Burke’s summer project at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory focused on the development of a phantom head for testing electroencephalography, or EEG headsets. EEG is the process of measuring electrical activity on the scalp to determine brain function. Shown with Burke (center) are his mentors, Alfred Yu (left) and Dave Hairston. (U.S. Army photo by Joyce Conant)

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 28, 2015) — Ben Burke’s College Qualified Leadership, or CQL, internship at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate came to an end this summer when he returned to college at the University of Maryland, College Park, but his project at ARL continues to develop.

Burke’s project focused on the development of a phantom head for testing electroencephalography, or EEG headsets. EEG is the process of measuring electrical activity on the scalp to determine brain function.

Burke, who is majoring in biological sciences with a possible minor in neuroscience, was mentored by Drs. W. David Hairston and Alfred Yu — both of whom are in ARL’s Translational Neuroscience Branch.

“The goal of this project was to design and fabricate a molded human head out of ballistics gel. The mold is based on an MR (magnetic resonance) image of one of our lab members, with some of the facial features anonymized. This image was used to 3-D print an inverse mold, which also contains a specially designed base containing wires to serve as internal electrical sites inside of the head,” said Hairston.

“Since ballistics gel is grossly similar to organic tissue in its conductance profile, the head can then be used as a test fixture with our EEG equipment either to test the equipment’s function, model different sources of environmental noise and how it affects the equipment, or verify different kinds of algorithms that we use for processing or analyzing data.” Continue reading