Cumulus EEG Headset
Revolutionising clinical trials for brain disorders
How might we revolutionise clinical trials for brain disorders to help bring life-changing therapies to patients faster and more cost-effectively?
Neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease, are a growing global challenge, but drug discovery and management of these Central nervous system (CNS) diseases are hampered by late diagnosis, poor stratification, and difficulty in monitoring patients. With the ambition to develop faster, more effective tools to help solve the biggest healthcare challenges in those areas, the team set out to bring a medical-grade EEG (recording of brain activity) monitoring platform into the home.
Lab-based headsets that offer EEG monitoring tend to have many heavy wires and cables in a cumbersome form in an effort to maximise their resolution. Cumulus aims to achieve lab-based resolution in a format that can be brought into the home and worn comfortably providing a unique combination of accuracy and accessibility.
As the headset needed to be worn for a certain duration to provide valuable data, finding a comfortable solution that people were happy to wear was critical to the product’s success. By their nature, EEG sensors are uncomfortable and require many wires and cables to carry the data, so several innovative solutions were developed to overcome these challenges.
For instance, to make sure all 16 electrodes contacted precise points on the head we worked with a combination of real people and a database of 3D scanned head shapes and sizes. Through an iterative prototyping process, we devised a sizing strategy that would fit up to 98% of head sizes and shapes. We also developed an adjustability system within the headset to get that perfect fit.
A lot of attention was put on the electrodes themselves, to optimise their functionality and comfort, regardless of head size, shape, or hair. By exploring various combinations of materials, profile and connection method, the team designed a new innovative electrode solution. This process achieved robust contact across all sensors ensuring superior accuracy of the data. Proprietary AI-powered analytics then automatically evaluate the rich multi-dimensional data to rapidly generate meaningful insights for clinical trials.
The goal was to create an effortless solution that removed any friction and increased the likelihood of long-term engagement from all users and stakeholders. To make the wearable product more inviting, it takes cues from the garment industry as opposed to the medical or tech industry, hiding the advanced technology and giving users peace of mind. Soft, fabric cushioning makes it cosier to wear. Fabric and foams were selected that provided stretch for fit, foldability for optimal transport yet held their shape for easy wearability. Water resistant finishes on fabric were also explored to improve cleanliness and longevity.
To solve some of the biggest challenges in monitoring functional brain health and brain disorders, the Cumulus team worked with our wearables experts to develop the world’s most advanced at-home, medical grade, flexible data collection and analytics platform. Through accelerating CNS clinical trials, Cumulus helps bring life-changing therapies to patients faster and more cost effectively. In the future, this platform has the potential to revolutionise other monitoring markets too, such as cognition, mood, language, and sleep.
A solution for the masses
One of the challenges we faced was designing a solution suitable for larger scale manufacturing, to deliver this life-changing solution to more people. After an intense research and development period, we came up with several ingenious solutions that included how to manage the unit’s complex wiring. This ensured it met the criteria for larger-scale production, significantly reduced the cost of making the headset as well as providing a neater solution aesthetically.
Sustainability principles influenced the design of the Cumulus headset. The wearable allows removal of the electrical parts from the textiles. That means it can be disinfected between participants in a clinical trial, and if anything breaks the whole headset doesn’t need replacing. This reduces the amount of waste produced and allows for reusability of high-cost parts.