MindFlex Teardown - A look inside the MindFlex
While sitting around watching cartoons, I saw a commercial for this thing called the MindFlex. "What kind of plastic gimmick are they trying to sell people now?", I thought to myself. I've heard of applying electronic sensors to ones head then feeding the sensor output to a computer in order to manipulate such virtual objects as a computer mouse or to play a game of pong. I didn't expect this technology to be marketed at the consumer level quite yet. Surely this "game" can't have anything to do with neuroscience. Curiosity compelled me to run out and buy one. As any good hacker would do, I promptly dissembled it. That was, of course, after I played around with it for awhile. Here's what I've found.This is what it looks like out of the box. Obstacle course accessories not shown.
The headset is comprised of a battery compartment (rite side), three sensors (left/right ears and forehead), and this PCB.
Viewing the headset PCB from above reveals what appears to be power regulation, an IC with its packaging being of the evil resin blob insulator variety, and two very small PCBs; one of which is obviously the RF transmitter.
The bottom of the headset PCB hosts the power LED, traces and solder pads.
Let's take a closer look at this small PCB.
There appears to be a micro controller IC hidden between the PCBs. Time to bust out the soldering iron and figure out what it is.
After some careful desoldering, the belly of the small PCB is revealed.
That T-A-60 sticker needs to go away.
The IC is a NeuroSky TGAT1-L64 D498Q-010 0924.
Now to open up the base.
The fan, mechanical gears, some buttons and an LED PCB live in the top half. The photointerrupter (not shown) is attached to the fan when the device is assembled.
Five switches which communicate the position of the rotating blower, power switch, speaker and another PCB are found in the bottom half of the base.
A photointerrupter is used to monitor fan speed.
I donít know the make or model, but it looks pretty standard.
This is the main PCB with attached RF receiver board, two ICs, buttons, etc. The red connector is for the fan motor.
And finally, the bottom of the main PCB.
So, there is much more to the MindFlex than I had anticipated. From here, the hacking begins.