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.

This documentation is for Cortex version 2.0 or above. It is not valid for Cortex version 1.x.

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.

Supported platforms

Currently, Cortex is supported on the following platforms:

  • Windows 10 (64-bit only)

  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra or above

  • Linux Ubuntu 18.04 or above (Beta release, 64-bit only)

  • iOS 12 or above (Beta release)

  • Android 7.0 Nougat (API level 24) or above (Beta release)

You can download the latest version of Cortex on the EMOTIV website.

Cortex is not supported on Windows 7. Microsoft ended the support for Windows 7 in January 2020.


The macOS version of Cortex is build for Intel's x86-64 processors. However, it is possible to run Cortex on an Apple M1 computer, using the Rosetta translation environment provided by Apple. Please make sure you are using Cortex version 2.6.3 or above.

Linux Ubuntu

The Linux Ubuntu version is currently in Beta. To connect an EMOTIV headset with Bluetooth, you must install and configure the bluez service. The software Emotiv PRO and Emotiv BCI are not available yet. You cannot login with Facebook.

Android and iOS

The iOS and Android versions are currently in Beta. They are only available upon request to the EMOTIV customer service. The software Emotiv PRO and Emotiv BCI are not available.

Supported headsets

Currently, Cortex supports the following headsets:






USB dongle



USB dongle, BTLE 4.0



USB dongle, BTLE 4.0

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



USB dongle, BTLE 4.0



USB dongle, BTLE 4.0



BTLE 4.0

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.


Create an EmotivID

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

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. 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.


With a valid EmotivID, you can already access to the basic data streams such as:

  • 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)

If you have a PRO license then you must fill an application before you can use your license with the API. There is one application form for each license type: Business, Academic, Student.

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

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.