Brainwave Art & Music

Final Iteration

Joseph Chafkin

The Final Project of our team was a spinning globe with LED lights. This globe would react to changes in the brainwave activity of its operator by changing its color scheme. 

After making our our first prototype we noticed a few problems that could be revised.

First, we noticed that the lights seemed to disappear when the globe with the LED lights started spinning; creating a blinking effect. We concluded that the problem was caused by the arrangement of the LED strip; it was mounted on the edge of a semicircle. We solved this by turning our original semicircle design into a laser cut polycarbonate circle; mounting an LED strip along the entire border.

Next, we noticed that the stepper motor was not giving us enough power (we needed our circle to spin very quickly in order to create the appearance of one globe of light by way of persistence of vision). We remedied this by attaching a larger, more powerful motor that was no longer controlled by Arduino (we didn't want the design to vary speed, therefore the EEG output was used solely to manipulate lights). Sean perfected a code on Max that would make the LED strip light up different colors based on brainwaves.

Finally, we wanted to put a large wooden box around the model to hide all the wiring and innards, but it was too bulky, so we decided to leave the mechanics of the model exposed. The result was a mesmerizing visual display that easily entrances people. Believe me, I stared at the thing for about an hour straight.

Early Phases

Joseph Chafkin

Out for three days sick last week, I came back to NuVu unsure of what studio I'd be assigned to help out with. Saeed directed me toward Sean Stevens' EEG BrainWave Art studio (I was thrilled to be working with Sean again, for he and I made some very interesting brainwave art last fall. I checked in with a few students, but was particularly intrigued by Rhett's idea for a spinning LED display. We were on our second week of the studio, and still did not have any clear idea of what the prototype would look like. After about an hour of brainstorming and planning, we agreed that a circle spinning upright would be both interesting and impressive to look at. From there, we hashed out designs found a relatively simple way to create this machine in the limited amount of time we had left. We took three differently sized circular panels of wood and attached them together. We then affixed different colors of tape around the edges of each circle (this was because we wanted to try mounting LED strips on the edges of three concentric circles, and wanted to see how well each strip could be seen). After we modeled this, we mounted it on a drill and watched it spin. Though it did create the spherical shape we were looking for, this first model had too much going on. We decided to pare the design down from three concentric circles to one single spinning semicircle, because it still created a globe shape with fewer components.

Slow Photography

Saeed Arida

In Action

Saeed Arida

Vision of the Brainwaive Art in the Dark Room Team

The team choose to build a drawing robot on wheels. However, the robot is not drawing with paint but with light.

The operator of the robot will wear an EEG headset. The robot will receive the brainwaves from the operator via the EEGheadset. The robot will interpret the brainwaves as motion; meaning changes  in the brainwaves of the operator will result in changes in the movements of the robot. The movements of the robot are document via long exposure photography in the dark room. These photographies show the path that the robot is taking. This allows the viewer to see a visual history of the brainwaves of the operators brain. 

The Vision of the Brainwave Orchestra Team

Serena, Camden, and Matthew are jointly working on a project that will turn brainwaves into music. It is called the Brainwave Orchestra.

The user/artist will wear an EEG headset. The signal from the user's brain will be transformed into music through an algorithm that has been programmed using Max MSP. The resulting piece of music will change depending on the mood of the user. The students envision to showcase a one-of-a-kind classical music performance at the Final Project presentation on Friday. 

The Vision of the Mind Painter Team

Chris and Satchel brainstormed a couple of ideas with Saeed; NuVu's CEO. They then decided on building a robot that can paint. However, this robot is not just painting anything; it is painting the changes of activity in the brain of the operator. 

They decided to call it the Mind Painter. The Mind Painter is a remote car-like vehicle that has two canisters of different paint mounted on it. It is remotely controlled by an operator wearing an EEG headset. The robot can move forward and backward and even spin in place; leaving a trail of paint.

The robot's movements are controlled by changes in the frequency bands of the operator's brain waves. Changes in the mind's activity result in abstract paintings; as shown in the photos.

The Vision of the Brainwave Race Car Project

Will's project is about building two cars that will race against each other. Those are no common cars; however. Both cars will be remotely controlled by the operator's brainwaves.

The operator will wear an EEG headset. One car will receive the signals from the operators mind that represents attentiveness. The other car will receive signals that represent relaxation. These signals will control the speed of the car. Both cars will race agains each other. In fact, the different states of the mind of the user will race against each other. 

Photos of Week 1

Have you ever seen an art piece, so impressive, that you felt like it was speaking to you? Have you ever listened to a creative melody or a musical composition and felt like it was telling you a story? What if that art piece were literally speaking to you? What if you could say something back? What if that beautiful melody could sense your thoughts and reactions, and change the story it’s trying to tell you?

In this studio, we will delve into our innermost landscapes, our brains, and try to translate our emotions and sentiments into tangible art and music. Students will utilize EEG headsets to capture brain waves and use it to create interactive art pieces and musical compositions using digital sound, video, and software techniques. The students’ creations will respond to the user’s change in moods, sentiments, emotions, and thoughts. 

Focus skills/areas/technologies:

  • Digital Art
  • Electronic Music
  • Interaction Design
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Flash
  • Garageband
  • EEG (Electroencephalography) Headset

21st-century academic and life skills:

  • Collaboration and collaborative problem-solving
  • Working in an entirely project-based environment
  • Learning cutting-edge technical skills using current and new technologies and tools
  • Working in a multi-age environment with peers and adults
  • Working with open-ended problems in a multidisciplinary, results-focused environment

Traditional intellectual and academic skills:

  • Research
  • Oral communication and presentation
  • Quantitative reasoning and analysis
  • Visual and digital art-making
  • Scientific reasoning and analysis