The most important application of brain-machine interfaces is to allow paralysed people the ability to control their environment.
The second most important application, is, of course, to create psychedelic rave visuals to accompany pumping acid techno.
Mind VJ is a project by Lenara Verle and Marlon Barrios-Solano that has filled this neglected area of research by designing an EEG-based system that creates intense visuals in response to electrical brain changes.
In MIND VJ, the idea is to use the rhythm of our own brain waves as the conducting element for the performance. In this manner, we can tap into a normally “hidden” area of our body (brain function and its electrical activity) and make it “visible” in the form of projected images. In this case, the images projected won’t be wave graphs, like the ones usually plotted by medical EEG machines, but artistic images, undergoing real-time changes and manipulations controlled by the current brain wave output of the subject (the MIND VJ)
Provocatively, The MIND VJ project references thoughts of utopian cyber dreams about the ultimate direct brain to computer interface, and on the other side brings paranoid ideas of “mind reading” and “mind control”.
I think we can guess where the drugs kicked in when they were writing that bit of text.
There’s more about the project on their website and a video of Mind VJ in action.
Apparently the project is still in progress and I look forward to seeing how it develops.
Link to Mind VJ.
3 thoughts on “Everything begins with an EEG”
Mind Hacks is one of my favorite blogs, so it was both a surprise and an honor to see the Mind VJ project here!
I guess one of the reasons I love this blog so much is because I can read about crazy art projects together with cutting edge science.
And believe it or not, we didn’t take any mind-altering drugs before writing the text!
Having personally done thousands of clinical EEGs over two decades, and also interpreted them, it always amaze me to find people on ventures such as this. No matter what you try with EEG, you will still see ALL electrical activity (frequency, amplitude and distribution) on those points on the scalp: Those induced by the electrical devices around the subject (now including some form of screen!), his/her movements, eye movements, muscle over the scalp and even as low as the neck and jaw. EEG is not a new field, but simply a hopelessly difficult one because of all the other things that require consideration. There are very good advances for interfaces in some areas though, using Sympathetic Skin Responses and mu waves on EEG. Unfortunately these did not prove very helpful in even very simple ways with locked-in patients yet (those expected to benefit most). For slightly less disabled, paralysed patients, other solutions are still very much more helpful. There are a few projects going on that have better success, but those are with implanted electrodes, and I have not found many people in my life willing to sit for such a procedure (ECoG-driven). By the way, I do believe that Lenara and het fellow-experimenters should look out for what we call lambda waves in Neurophysiology. Since we look for higher amplitudes and states of drowsiness to activate pathology, it is not so common in the clinical labs!
The first thing I wanted to do was finally explore the EEG machine. The idea of using quantifiable information, gleaned from the brain itself, representing it in a variety of manners — from purely aesthetic to powerful data visualization — got my mind humming with possibilities. Directly interfacing with the individual experience of perception is a terrain I had not yet been able to directly explore. Through open source hardware I was finally in a position to begin experimenting with how my own mind responds to stimuli. In addition, the format of taking the research directly to a classroom for further development amongst a background of many interests offered new possibilities for refining the technology.Thanks for sharing…