What can I do with Unicorn Hybrid Black?

A practical guide to conduct your Brain-Computer Interface and EEG experiments.

The Unicorn Hybrid Black is a new EEG headset on the market.  Scientists, makers and developers can use it to create and build many brain-computer interface applications and experiments. But, what kind of BCI applications and experiments can be conducted with the Unicorn Hybrid Black? Let’s dig deeper into the world of the Unicorn Hybrid Black and its many research possibilities.

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A perfect fit

The key for high quality EEG recordings is the solid contact of the electrodes to the scalp, which is why we designed our Unicorn Hybrid Black to fit perfectly to different head shapes and keep the device in position.

The Unicorn Hybrid Black is a high-quality wearable EEG headset with 8 Unicorn Hybrid EEG electrodes to perfectly acquire brain waves. The headset allows you to record brain activity dry or with gel and therefore enables the usage for many different BCI applications.

Developers, artists and makers are able to acquire and process brain signals, ranging from the simple display of the signals, to the design and control of attached devices or to interact e.g. with artistic installations, toys, computer programs or applications.

What brain areas can be recorded?


  • The sensorimotor cortex. In other words, you imagine e.g. a left- or right-hand movement to produce an event-related desynchronization over the sensorimotor cortex. This is basically an amplitude change of the alpha and beta regions of the EEG.
  • The central, parietal and occipital area. In that case, the Unicorn Speller is showing different flashing icons and you have to attend to the icon you want to select. When the icon flashes on the computer screen, than a P300 wave is produced in the brain and the Unicorn Suite is able to detect it.
  • The parietal regions. This is especially for steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) and code-based VEP experiments.

If other brain areas are needed, the Unicorn Hybrid EEG electrodes can be moved on the Unicorn cap.

So far, so good. Now, what can you do with Unicorn EEG headset? Let us pick some examples and explain how this was realized.

Smart Home Control with Arduino

Smart Homes can be controlled with your brain using a Unicorn Hybrid Black. It can be used to switch on a lamp or TV, turn on the popcorn maker or microwave. This is realized by connecting the Unicorn Hybrid Black to an Arduino board that controls power sockets. The Unicorn Speller is used as BCI application to mentally select icons on the screen and to send these commands to the Arduino board.

Additionally, it allows you to load custom control images into the graphical user interface. Then the images are flashing randomly on the screen and you will be able to select mentally a specific command.

Project: Smart Home Control

At the BR41N.IO Hackathon Linz 2017, a team controlled several home devices with Unicorn Hybrid Black.

Virtual/Augmented Reality Control for Unity Applications or VR Games

Use the Unicorn Speller to control Unity applications! In this case, control icons for the VR game or environment are loaded into the Speller and a UDP communication between the BCI Speller and the Unity environment is setup. This allows you to program computer games that are BCI controlled. With a BCI, you will get an additional control command besides to the computer keyboard or joystick.

But don’t be disappointed! The BCI system will never beat the speed of these input devices, but it provides you other information.

Project: BR41N.IO Bros. Game

During the BR41N.IO Hackathon in Miyazaki 2018, a team programmed a Unity Game that can be controlled with their minds.

Brain-Control Robots and Orthosis

Besides VR/AR applications, you can simply control devices, as explained in Smart Home Control. Sphero SPRK robot, e-puck robot, an orthosis, a game or a drone. You name it!

Other applications extract information from the brain to modulate music composition, to create painting from your dreams or to mix a Gin Tonic depending on your relaxation state. In neuroscience, brain activity can be extracted that is triggered by external events in order to understand behaviour or mental processing.

Project: Doing Nothing with AI

Emanuel Gollob programmed a Kuka industrial robot that "feels" when the interaction partner is stressed because of the robot moving too close.

What programming languages are required?

Unicorn offers you some software tools which allow you to interface the Unicorn EEG Headset from

  • .NET
  • C#
  • Python
  • MATLAB/Simulink

If you don’t know any programming languages, then Unicorn Speller is just for you. The ready-to-go software and the development tools meet your individual desires.

Visual Arts influenced by your brain

Many projects focus less on technical development and more on art, such as using BCIs to paint and creating new headsets. Some groups have used P300 BCIs to select and modify different art elements to create paintings on a monitor, projector or on paper.

Project: Corteza by Alex Guevara

The EEG headset captures the brain waves of a subject and transforms them into an artistic representation, building a bridge between science and digital art.

Project: Dream Painting

During the BR41N.IO Hackathon in Linz 2019, a team mapped activation of the EEG on a graphical representation while a person was sleeping, indicating how active the brain was.

Other groups have used 3D printers and sewing machines to make new headwear, sometimes with additional devices like cameras or lights. Some projects have developed different types of caps, while other designs used a visor, headband, or audio headphones.

Project: Giving Unicorn Hybrid Black a new design

This video shows a prototype of a 3D printed headset for BCI experiments.

Software Add-on

Unicorn Python API

The Unicorn Python API enables the communication with Unicorn Hybrid Black from Python.


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Software Add-on

Unicorn Speller

The Unicorn Speller is a software add-on for control purposes.


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Software Add-on

Unicorn Simulink Interface

The Unicorn Simulink Interface is a software add-on for Unicorn Hybrid Black.


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Complete Solution

Unicorn Hybrid Black

The wearable EEG headset delivers high-quality EEG data from 8 Unicorn Hybrid EEG Electrodes.


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