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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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