Wearable Neuromodulation Device for Meditation

Developing hardware and firmware to prepare a device for mass production

Solution Hardware and Firmware Development for a Wearable Device
Industry Healthcare
ENGAGEMENT MODEL

T&M (time and materials)

METHODOLOGY Scrum
Team
  • Schematic Designer
  • PCB Engineer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Project Manager
  • Mechanical Designer
  • Graphical Designer
  • Firmware Developer

Customer

Case Highlights

  • Reducing hardware costs
  • Reducing the size of components
  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Preparing the cap design

Problem

The client was working on a wearable device that would help people meditate and relieve brain stress. The solution generates a low-intensity pulsation magnetic field (PMF) for brain stimulation.

The customer already had a raw sample of the cap and needed help to prepare it for mass production. The device had outdated hardware―it was too big to fit into the headwear and caused fast battery discharge. Also, the component costs were too high.

The customer employed Softeq to revise and improve the initial raw sample. Our team had to upgrade the hardware, reduce its size, and develop firmware for the device.

Solution

Device Composition

The client’s sample solution consisted of three parts:

  • Cadet-style cap—contains a coil array of eight flexible printed circuits (FPCs) inside and a control unit outside at the front
  • Coil array—sends electromagnetic impulses to the brain lobes
  • Control unit—connects, turns on, and charges the device, and controls intensity/timing of meditation

We retained the solution’s frame and upgraded the hardware components to make meditation sessions more comfortable.

Keeping the Device’s Work Mode with the Optimized Hardware

Our engineers helped the client keep their device's unique working logic using more efficient and cheaper components.

The solution generates a well-defined milliamp current pulse train that stimulates the brain. The control unit delivers impulses to the coil array which emits a magnetic field. The generated impulses of a certain shape and frequency provide a 25-minute-long session. Currently, one working mode is available.

The distributed set of FPCs covers and affects frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital brain lobes. The impulses stimulate the brain, reducing stress, and helping the owner relax and meditate. In some cases, the device even helps relieve chronic head pain.

We designed a solution that supports all this functionality but is more compact and less expensive.

wearable-neuromodulation-device-meditation-Fluxwear-Cap

 

Optimizing Control Unit

The PCB redesign helped reduce the size and cost of the control unit and made it more energy efficient.

The original PCB design contained two microcircuits: one for the control unit, and the second for the Bluetooth module. That design caused two problems: the control unit was too big for the headwear and it drained the battery quickly.

To solve those problems, our hardware engineers revised the client’s PCB design. We proposed using a Bluetooth module with a built-in controller. As a result, the team managed to reduce the hardware footprint by eight times. In addition, the new components cost less and consume less energy than those used initially.

To provide faster charging, we also upgraded an input from Micro USB to USB Type-C.

Optimizing the Coil Array

New components reduced the cost of the coil array.

 

The client’s FPC design was based on outdated and expensive details. We managed to find the required components for a four times cheaper price, and at the same time, provided the required functionality.

Providing the Cap Design with Hidden Hardware Inside

We managed to hide all the hardware components and necessary notches inside the headwear.

The redesign of the PCB helped us make the device compact. Now, headwear of any size (S–XXL) looks like a common cadet-style cap while being comfortable to wear.

We also helped the customer choose the cap shape, textile, and materials so that they could order it with any third-party manufacturer.

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Result

The device is ready for mass production

Softeq helped the client transform their raw sample device into a commercial sample. We optimized the design of the solution to make it ergonomic, efficient, and less expensive. As a result, we made the component base four times cheaper and the PCB footprint eight times smaller.

The first batch of samples is currently undergoing real-life testing. After that, the client will be able to start the mass production phase.

wearable-neuromodulation-device-meditation-Fluxwear-cap-final

The next stage of the device development will involve a functionality upgrade, including:

  • New work modes with different electromagnetic intensities and frequencies
  • A mobile app that would allow users to choose from different impulse modes and session lengths