Getting Started

This documentation contains guidance for developing applications with EMOTIV Cortex - the core piece of technology at EMOTIV which brings the brain computer interface to consumer.

The intended audience is anyone with some programming skills who wants to develop a third party application that interacts with an EMOTIV headset.

The Cortex API is built on JSON and WebSockets, making it easy to access from a variety of programming languages and platforms.

End Of Life

Support for the previous generation EMOTIV SDK Community Edition version 3.5, and EMOTIV Cortex v1.x, has reached the end of life on 31st December 2020.

Developers should migrate their applications to work with our new Emotiv Cortex V2, which is described in this document and can be downloaded from our website.

System requirements and supported platforms

Learn more about the system requirements and support platforms for Cortex.

Supported headsets

Currently, Cortex supports the following headsets:






USB dongle


USB dongle, BLE 4.0


USB dongle, BLE 4.0

Bluetooth® 5.0 will be available with upcoming software and firmware updates


USB dongle, BLE 4.0



USB dongle, BLE 4.0


BLE 4.0


BLE 4.0



nRF dongle with BLE 5

USB dongle refers to the USB receiver that comes with EPOC+. If you need an additional receiver, you can purchase it from the EMOTIV store.

Currently, it is not possible to use a MN8 headset with Cortex on Linux Ubuntu.


Create an EmotivID

As with other EMOTIV services, you are required to have an EmotivID account. You can create an ID on


With a valid EmotivID, you have access to the basic data streams, including:

  • Motion Data

  • Mental Commands

  • Facial Expressions

  • Performance Metrics (low-resolution, 0.1Hz)

  • Frequency Bands

  • Contact Quality

  • Battery Level

A paid subscription will be required for data streams such as:

  • EEG Data

  • Performance Metrics (high-resolution, 2Hz)

A Developer API license is required to access the Raw EEG API and the High-resolution Performance metrics API. Please complete the SDK application form, and our customer support team will respond as soon as possible with assistance and licensing options.

Visit for more details. If you have questions about the licensing plans please contact the EMOTIV Customer Support.

Create a Cortex App

Create the application ID and generate the corresponding client ID and client secret for your application in order to grant access to Cortex API.

  1. Login to

  2. Go to My Account Dashboard (

  3. Select Cortex Apps.

  4. Read the Developers EULA carefully and click Accept only if you agree to all the terms and conditions. You cannot develop an application that works with Cortex if you do not agree to all of the terms.

  5. Enter the name of your new application - an application ID will be generated automatically in the form of com.{your-username}.{application-name}. Note that the app ID string must contain only alphanumeric characters (A-Z, a-z, 0-9), hyphens (-), and periods (.).

  6. (If you have purchased a subscription to the EEG Data API) Decide whether your application requires access to the EEG Data stream. If so, understand that your application will only be available to you until you contact EMOTIV for a deployment license. If your application does not require EEG data then you are entitled to share it with up to 10,000 users before contacting EMOTIV for a deployment license.

  7. (If you have purchased a subscription to the EEG Data API and decided that your application would require access to the EEG Data stream), tick "My App requires EEG access". If you forget this, your application cannot subscribe to EEG stream data later.

  8. Click Register Application. A client ID and a client secret will be presented to you. Copy them to somewhere safe immediately as the client secret will ONLY BE SHOWN ONCE ON THIS SCREEN FOR SECURITY. If you lost it, you will have to generate a new application ID later.

  9. (If you have purchased a subscription to the EEG Data API and decided that your application would require access to the EEG Data stream), make sure you submit this form with necessary information. If you don't submit this form, your applications don't have permission to use the license later.

The Cortex Examples

To help you getting started with your application, EMOTIV provides basic examples in various programming languages. There are open source and hosted by Github at

If you have difficulty with the Cortex API, you can also open an issue on this Github repository.

Next Step

If you are upgrading your application from Cortex 1.x to Cortex 2.x, then please be aware that the Cortex API has significantly changed. Please read the release notes for details.

If you are new to the Cortex API, then please start with Connecting to the Cortex API.

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