If your ears are burning it’s said someone is talking about you, but Australian scientists say its more likely you’re having a brainwave. Two researchers in Canberra have developed a high-tech hat that monitors brain activity via changes in ear temperature — offering a cheap way to assess risks for patients ahead of brain surgery.
“If an area of the brain is more active it needs more blood, which flows up the carotid artery on either side of the neck,” said Nicolas Cherbuin, one of the psychology researchers involved in the project at the Australian National University. “This blood is shared between the brain and the inner ear, so by measuring the ear temperature we can work out which side of the brain is more active,” Cherbuin said in a statement. The researchers said the hat could be used to cheaply monitor brain activity to gauge risks before a patient underwent surgery.