New Deep Learning Discovery Paves Way for AI Interpretation of Brainwave Data

Deep learning

Deep learning

A new paper published in the Journal of Neural Engineering shows the successful first application of self-supervised learning, a very promising recent approach to train deep neural networks, to directly learn what EEG looks like, without using any labelled data

Interpreting the results of electroencephalogram (EEG) graphs, which are used to visualize brain activity of everything from meditation to neurological disorders, is one of the greatest challenges facing brain researchers. Machine learning has the potential to relieve some of this burden, but EEG data is extremely multidimensional and can be expensive, and time-consuming to annotate. It also requires the deep expertise of neurologists and sleep experts. This means there are typically not enough labelled examples for supervised deep neural networks to learn from in order to create an efficient AI.

While labelled-EEGs identifying sleep stages and brain activity are scarce, there is ample unlabeled data that exists. In his new paper, Uncovering the Structure of Clinical EEG Signals with Self-supervised Learning, Interaxon Inc researcher Hubert Banville and researchers at Université Paris-Saclay, University of Helsinki, and Max Planck Institute applied self-supervised learning to extract features from unlabeled EEGs. Banville found that when limited numbers of labelled data were available, his self-supervised learning approach outperformed traditional supervised learning methods that rely purely on labelled data. These results were obtained on two very different EEG classification problems: identifying sleep stages in overnight recordings, and detecting EEG pathologies. Moreover, without access to any labelled data, his approach also uncovered a fascinating structure in the data that relates to clinical information such as sleep stages, pathology and age.

Put into practice, these intelligent new approaches will allow the scientific community, including researchers at Interaxon Inc., the developer of Muse® headbands that has one of the largest brain data (EEG) collections in the world, to leverage, mine and utilize large amounts of unlabeled EEG data to efficiently discover relevant information in EEG. This has potential to improve the performance of algorithms used in everything from consumer sleep and wellness support tools like Muse S, to swifter diagnosis of neurological disorders.

Read the full paper, methodology and results here. For interviews and more information, contact Jen Squilla at

About Interaxon Inc. (aka Muse):

Our team of neuroscientists, meditation teachers, and engineers develop state-of-the-art experiences using research-grade EEG technology. Our goal is to help individuals build a rewarding meditation and sleep practice to live healthier, happier, more connected lives through human-centered technology. Our award-winning neurofeedback devices, and premium content offering of guided meditations with responsive learning functionality, help users meditate and improve sleep hygiene by providing real-time audio feedback on their meditative state through the Muse® companion app. We make the intangible, tangible. More information about Muse® is available at

Milestones we’re excited about:

  • # of employees: 45+
  • Offices: Toronto, Ontario
  • Sessions of meditation with Muse®: Over 165 million minutes to date and currently one of the largest brain data (EEG) collection in the world.
  • Research institutions using Muse®: The Mayo Clinic, NASA, Harvard, MIT, U of T, UCL, UCSD, Inria, UVic, UBC, and many more.
  • Meditating with Muse® works: A recent study at the Catholic University of Milan showed that four weeks with Muse® significantly reduced stress as well as potentially influenced beneficial neuroplastic changes in users’ brains, compared to controls. Original published papers from the 1Balconi Lab study can be found here and here.



Jen Squilla | Max Borges Agency on behalf of Muse