Application of wearable EEG sensors for indoor thermal comfort measurements

Silvia Angela Mansi, Ilaria Pigliautile, Camillo Porcaro, Anna Laura Pisello, Marco Arnesano


Multidomain comfort theories have been demonstrated to interpret human thermal comfort in buildings by employing human-centered physiological measurements coupled with environmental sensing techniques. Thermal comfort has been correlated with brain activity through electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements. However, the application of low-cost wearable EEG sensors for measuring thermal comfort has not been thoroughly investigated. Wearable EEG devices provide several advantages in terms of reduced intrusiveness and application in real-life contexts. However, they are prone to measurement uncertainties. This study presents results from the application of an EEG wearable device to investigate changes in the EEG frequency domain at different indoor temperatures. Twenty-three participants were enrolled, and the EEG signals were recorded at three ambient temperatures: cold (16 °C), neutral (24 °C), and warm (31 °C). Then, the analysis of brain Power Spectral Densities (PSDs) was performed, to investigate features correlated with thermal sensations. Statistically significant differences of several EEG features, measured on both frontal and temporal electrodes, were found between the three thermal conditions. Results bring to the conclusion that wearable sensors could be used for EEG acquisition applied to thermal comfort measurement, but only after a dedicated signal processing to remove the uncertainty due to artifacts.

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