A new type of EEG derivation has been investigated. This derivation, constituting a practical implementation of the Laplace operator, detects source activity as it appears at the surface level of the scalp. It is realized in the 10-20 system of electrode placement basically as an analogue superposition of four bipolar derivations, forming a star-like configuration around each electrode. Visual estimation of the topographical origins of a pattern, is thus replaced by a more efficient on-line process, which derives the source activity at the position of each individual electrode. Practical correlation tests have shown that the separation of adjacent derivations is improved by a factor of between two and four, compared to the corresponding bipolar and common reference derivations. Any feature of local origin will therefore have a correspondingly increased signal-to-noise ratio prior to the stage of visual or automatic interpretation. As a consequence of the partition of the scalp field into 19 source zreas, instead of utilizing an arbitrary number of potential differences, one fixed montage with 19 recorder channels is sufficient to present the total surface activity, within the limits of resolution of the electrode system.