Active Electrodes for Wearable EEG Acquisition: Review and Design Methodology

Jiawei Xu, Srinjoy Mitra, Chris Van Hoof, Refet Firat Yazicioglu, K.A.A Makinwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


Active electrodes (AEs), i.e., electrodes with built-in readout circuitry, are increasingly being implemented in wearable healthcare and lifestyle applications due to AEs' robustness to environmental interference. An AE locally amplifies and buffers μV-level EEG signals before driving any cabling. The low output impedance of an AE mitigates cable motion artifacts, thus enabling the use of high-impedance dry electrodes for greater user comfort. However, developing a wearable EEG system, with medical grade signal quality on noise, electrode offset tolerance, common-mode rejection ratio, input impedance, and power dissipation, remains a challenging task. This paper reviews state-of-the-art bio-amplifier architectures and low-power analog circuits design techniques intended for wearable EEG acquisition, with a special focus on an AE system interfaced with dry electrodes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-198
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Active electrode (AE)
  • brain–computer interface
  • common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR)
  • dry electrodes
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • instrumentation amplifier (IA)


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