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Emotion detection from brain activity

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the emotion mechanism in the human brain.

Firstly, human brain architecture will be studied and a 3D model of the brain will be developed. Then, emotional triggers with different emotional states such as happy, angry, sad, etc. will be implemented to participants and their brain activities will be recorded using EEG sensors or near Infrared imaging devices. In collaboration with neural scientists and psychologists, the data will be carefully labeled.

After that, the data will be analysed carefully and algorithms on feature extraction, machine learning, deep learning will be developed for emotion detection and recognition. The algorithms should not only provide high accuracy but also be explainable from the human brain model.

The produced datasets will be available publicly for the research community and a possible international challenge workshop can be held based on that.

The successful candidate should hold an Honours Degree or a Master’s Degree in Mathematics, Data Science, Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, or another relevant subject area. Candidates with knowledge or research experience in sensors, signal processing, computer vision, machine learning and strong programming skills are preferred.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Hongying Meng - Dr Hongying Meng is a Reader with Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, Brunel University London. Before that, he held research positions in several UK universities including University College London (UCL), University of YorkUniversity of Southampton, University of Lincoln, and University of Dundee. He received his Ph.D. degree in Communication and Electronic Systems from Xi’an Jiaotong University and was a lecturer in Electronic Engineering Department of Tsinghua University, Beijing in China. He is a Member of Engineering Professors’ Council, and a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (HEA) in UK. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology (TCSVT) and IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems (IEEE TCDS), and a general chair for 16th International Conference on Natural Computation, Fuzzy Systems and Knowledge Discovery (ICNC-FSKD 2020).

Wamadeva Balachandran - Professor Balachandran is Professor of Electronic Systems and served as Head of Department of Systems Engineering at Brunel University London, UK, from 1999 to 2004. Before joining Brunel University London in 1995, he was a Reader in the Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering at the University of Surrey, UK. Prior to joining Surrey he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Electronics at Southampton University, UK, from 1979 to 1983. He received his MSc and PhD degrees in Control Engineering and Measurement & Instrumentation from University of Bradford, UK, in 1975 and 1979 respectively. He received the BSc degree in Physical Sciences from University of Ceylon, Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1971. After serving as a temporary member of academic staff for nine months in University of Ceylon, Colombo, Sri Lanka, he joined as an academic member of staff in the Physics Department of Fourabay College, University of Sierra Leone in 1971 and remained until 1974. During this period he also taught Physics and mathematics in a secondary school. He was a Visiting Professor in the Driftmier Engineering Centre at University of Georgia in 1993 and 1996. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Mansoura and Dongguan University in China. In 2004 he was a Visiting Scholar in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Balachandran is a Fellow of IEEE (USA), IEE (UK), InstPhy (UK), InstMC (UK) and Royal Society of Arts (UK). His research interest spans several different disciplines: Electrostatics & Charge Particle Dynamics, Electrohydrodynamics, Micro/Nano particles and fibre generation, Transport of DNA using DEP force, Lab-on-a-chip, Electromagnetic Field Sensing, EM Interaction with Human Body, Dynamic Measurement Systems, Global Positioning Satellite System for Navigation and Medical Electronics. He has actively pursued research in these fields for more than 20 years and published over 200 papers to date and filed 10 patent applications. He has served as an External Examiner for 23 PhD degrees in the UK, France and Australia. Professor Balachandran has presented more than 40 plenary and invited talks in his field of expertise at international conferences around the globe. He has organized and Chaired several international conferences and continue to serve as a member of several scientific and organizing committees of international conferences. He is regularly invited to Chair sessions at IEEE/IAS, ICLASS, and several other meetings in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia. On a couple of occasions, Prof. Balachandran’s research has been featured on BBC World Service and TV Broadcasts. He continues to review manuscripts for 15 archival journals and research grant applications for EPSRC (UK), EU Framework, NSF (USA), SERC (Canada) and Singapore government. Prof. Balachandran is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Atomization and Sprays, and the International Journal of Particle Science and Technology. He is a paper review manager of IEEE Transactions of Industrial Application Society. He has been a Guest Editor for the Journal of Measurement & Control. He has served as a member of Brunel University London Court, Council, Senate, Finance Committee, Appeals Panel, Faculty Board and Wolfson Centre Advisory Board. He has a long experience of acting as a consultant in the fields of his research to over 30 companies worldwide.

Related Research Group(s)

Electronic Systems

Electronic Systems - Investigating processes and mechanisms found in nature to inspire alternative approaches to the design and implementation of intelligent electronic systems.