MindFlex Teardown
A look inside the MindFlex
By: Alpha

Featured on Hack-A-Day!
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.
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MindFlex main hardware


The headset is comprised of a battery compartment (rite side), three sensors (left/right ears and forehead), and this PCB.
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Headset 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.
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Top view of headset PCB.


The bottom of the headset PCB hosts the power LED, traces and solder pads.
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Bottom view of headset PCB.


Let's take a closer look at this small PCB.
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Top view close up of 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.
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Hidden IC between PCBs


After some careful desoldering, the belly of the small PCB is revealed.
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Small PCB removed from main PCB.


That T-A-60 sticker needs to go away.
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Bottom view close up of small PCB


The IC is a NeuroSky TGAT1-L64 D498Q-010 0924.
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NeuroSky TGAT1-L64 D498Q-010 0924


Now to open up the base.
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MindFlex base innards revealed.


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.
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Inside base top half.


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.
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Inside base bottom half.


A photointerrupter is used to monitor fan speed.
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Fan with photo photointerrupter.


I donít know the make or model, but it looks pretty standard.
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Photointerrupter


This is the main PCB with attached RF receiver board, two ICs, buttons, etc. The red connector is for the fan motor.
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Main PCB top.


And finally, the bottom of the main PCB.
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Main PCB bottom


So, there is much more to the MindFlex than I had anticipated. From here, the hacking begins.

 

-Alpha

 

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