Various imaging and diagnostic modalities used in practice require calibration of the clinicial devices. Standardized phantoms are typically used to adjust CT scanners, MRI scanners, and even PET machines. Electroencephalography, though it generates lots of high resolution data, doesn’t have a standard phantom to calibrate devices from different manufacturers. To help advance the field of EEG and make studies using the technology more meaningful, researchers at U.S. Army Research Lab’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate developed a prototype EEG phantom that produces electrical signal similarly to those originating from the brain.
Instead of generating novel signals of its own, the phantom, shaped from a scan of a real person’s head, plays back recordings gathered from real humans. Since the nature of the signals is known in advance, any aberrations must be coming from the nearby environment instead of the phantom.
This allows any EEG system to be tuned to detect specifically the signal generated within the phantom, while correcting for any differences produced by the attenuation of the signal due to interference. The hope is that the phantom will improve the quality and consistency of EEG data that’s gathered from a variety of patients in widely different environments.