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Evaluating neural responses via EEG brain data in virtual reality environments: Key neurotechnology patent by The Nielsen Company

virtual reality

– Illustrative image from U.S. Patent No. 8,392,250

Today we are sharing a fascinating patent by The Nielsen Company, relevant both for consumer research and for home health solutions. (As mentioned, we are featuring foundational Pervasive Neurotech patents, from older to newer by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 8,392,250: Neuro-response evaluated stimulus in virtual reality environments

  • Assignee(s): The Nielsen Company
  • Inventor(s): Anantha Pradeep, Robert T. Knight, Ramachandran Gurumoorthy, Dev Ratnakar
  • Technology Category: EEG
  • Issue Date: March 5, 2013

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘250 patent is one of Nielsen’s several patents that present unique approaches at the intersection of neurotechnology and consumer research. The ability to discern consumer reactions based on brain data (captured via EEG in some embodiments) when products are shown in virtual environments overcomes several problems (as discussed in the background of invention) with prior approaches, such as incomplete and inaccurate feedback from after-the-fact survey results. Furthermore, the virtual reality environment allows for quickly and cheaply testing a variety of stimulus materials, thereby establishing an effective means for product developers and marketers to iterate on designs and messaging.

The claims of the ‘250 patent require separately generating the virtual environment (e.g., a store or shop) and stimulus material (e.g., product packaging) before integrating the two, which may present a competitor design around option. Nevertheless, the compelling synergy between brain feedback, virtual reality and consumer research contribute to deeming ‘250 patent a key non-invasive neurotechnology patent.


A system presents stimulus materials such as products, product packages, displays, services, offerings, etc., in virtual reality environments such as market aisles, store shelves, showroom floors, etc. Sensory experiences output to the user via the virtual reality environment elicit user interactivity. User activity and responses are used to modify marketing materials and/or virtual reality environments. Neuro-response data including electroencephalography (EEG) data is collected from users in order to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing materials in virtual reality environments. In particular examples, neuro-response data is used to modify marketing materials and virtual reality environments presented to the user.

Illustrative Claim 1. A method, comprising:

  • obtaining stimulus material for presentation to a subject;
  • generating a virtual reality environment for the stimulus material;
  • integrating the virtual reality environment and the stimulus material;
  • exposing the subject to the stimulus material in the virtual reality environment;
  • collecting neuro-response data from the subject exposed to the stimulus

material in the virtual reality environment, wherein the neuro-response data includes electroencephalography data; wherein the neuro-response data from the subject is analyzed to determine an effectiveness of the stimulus material in the virtual reality environment, wherein the stimulus material comprises marketing material.

To learn more about market data, trends and leading companies in the digital brain health space –digital platforms for brain/ cognitive assessment, monitoring and enhancement– check out this market report. To learn more about our analysis of 10,000+ patent filings, check out this IP & innovation neurotech report.

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