If one hack that controls amputated cockroach legs this week wasn’t enough for you, we’ve got another.
Earlier this week we saw two neuroscientists at Backyard Brains put on a show at a TED talk by connecting an amputated cockroach leg (don’t worry, they grow back) to a $100 electronic device called the SpikerBox. The SpikerBox allows students to explore the world of axons and action potentials by listening in on the electronic signals generated by the hair on the legs of a cockroach. For the finale for their TED talk, the SpikerBox guys attached an MP3 player to the cockroach leg, causing the now dead appendage to dance a little jig.
This new build – the Salt Shaker from Thinker Thing again allows students to amputate cockroach legs, pin them down with electrodes, and cause muscle contractions with the sound of science. Thinker Thing took this one step further than the neuroscientists at Backyard Brains; now you can control a cockroach leg with your mind.
The folks at Thinker Thing are using an off the shelf EEG system from Emotiv to capture the alpha, beta, and delta brainwaves of their new human test subjects. By interpreting these brain signals, they can convert these small variations in cerebral electrical activity to sound files. From there, it’s simply a matter of plugging in the Salt Shaker and moving a cockroach leg with your mind.
In the video after the break you can check out the folks at Thinker Thing playing around with their Salt Shaker and controlling a cockroach leg with a team member’s mind.
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For [Ern]’s MEng group project, his group had to develop a robotics platform capable of achieving some end goal. Because innovation is a large part of the grade, [Ern] convinced his team members to work with a brain controlled interface and build a mind controlled robotics platform.
For wont of having an easy build, [Ern] and his team chose a Lynxmotion Tri-Track robot capable of moving around the classroom while receiving commands from a computer. The mind-control portion of the build comes from a NeuroSky MindWave Mobile, a cheap and fairly open EEG system that reads alpha, beta, and delta waves generated by a user’s brain and sends that data over to a computer for processing.
After a bit of testing that included an Arduino to move the robot forward if the MindWave’s ‘attention’ value was over 60%, [Ern] and his team looked for a way to implement multi-directional control.
In order to get the robot moving left, right, and backwards in addition to moving forwards, the team looked at the included ‘blink detection’ abilities of the MindWave to cycle through a few commands. This technique turned out to be far too sensitive – the blink detection of the MindWave is simply too good. To get around that problem, the team used the signal strength of the received EEG signals. The theory being when a user blinks their eyes, the EEG contacts will move slightly, degrading the signal received by the hardware.
The team finally got a reasonable mind-controlled robot up and working, as demonstrated in the video after the break. Check out how each blink allows [Ern] and his colleagues to cycle through driving modes. Pretty neat for controlling something with your mind.
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The folks at the Louisville hackerspace LVL1 created the handiest and the dandiest kitchen tool you’ve ever seen. It’s not a slicer, it’s not a dicer, or a chopper or a hopper; it’s… a Star Wars Force Trainer that blows up watermelons.
The project is called Mind Over Melon and was created by [Chris] and [Brad] at LVL1 for the CONNECT at Bernheim festival this past weekend. The idea behind the build is allowing people to explode a watermelon with their mind using a Star Wars Force Trainer EEG toy.
The build features the Force Trainer attached to an XBee module, wirelessly connected to the ground zero of watermelon destruction. When the operator of the device concentrates very hard, a series of LEDs light up and a solenoid dumps a shot of compressed CO2 into a watermelon.
[Brad] tells us instructions to build your own mental Sledge-O-Matic will be available on the LVL1 wiki shortly, but until then enjoy this video of the Mind Over Melon being featured on WHAS11 news.
[Matt Oehrlein] and [Ed Platt] from the i3 Detroit hackerspace created the Mind Flame project. The project uses Electroencephalography (EEG) sensors from NeuroSky to measure the user’s concentration level. When you’re concentrating hard enough, the Mind Flame launches a giant fireball, which probably breaks your concentration pretty quickly.
Propane is accumulated in tanks, and then released past a hot surface carbide igniter. It looks like an Arduino is used to open the valve, and the result is a massive fireball controlled by your brainwaves.
The Mind Flame was demoed at the Detroit Maker Faire as a competition. Two participants face off to see who can concentrate the hardest and make the device launch three fireballs first. In the future, they want to incorporate new competitive elements. One example is placing wooden houses in the line of fire, and letting opponents try to burn down their adversary’s house before their’s is set ablaze.
You can check out an interview about the project here.
Over the last few years, [Michael] has been working on the Lucid Scribe project, an online sleep research database to document lucid dreams. This project uses a combination of hardware and software to record rapid eye movements while sleeping. Not only is [Michael] able to get his computer to play music when he starts dreaming (thus allowing him to recognize he’s in a dream), he can also communicate from within a dream by blinking his eyes in Morse code.
According to the Lucid Scribe blog, [Michael] and other researchers in the Lucid Scribe project have developed motion-sensing hardware capable of detecting heartbeats. This equipment is also sensitive enough to detect the Rapid Eye Movements associated with dreaming. This hardware feeds data into the Lucid Scribe app and detects when [Michael] is dreaming. Apparently, [Michael] has been practicing his lucid dreaming; he’s actually been able to move his eyes while dreaming to blink our Morse code.
The first message from the dreamworld was, of course, “first post”. [Michael] used ‘first post’ to debug his system, but he has managed to blink ‘S’ from a dream. That should improve after he works on his Morse and lucid dreaming skills.
You may now begin referencing Inception in the comments.
It seems [Charles Moyes] and [Mengxiang Jiang] won’t suffer from the sore wrists and thumbs from an Atari controller any longer. They built a version of Pong played by concentrating and relaxing while wearing an EEG headset.
Right now, there’s only enough hardware for one player; when the player operating the red paddle concentrates the paddle moves up – relax, it goes down.
The hardware portion of the build is fairly tricky business. [Chuck] and [Mengxiang] built a circuit to amplify the tiny voltages between their ears into something a microcontroller can read. The circuit is loosely based on this Arduino EEG build, but highly refined as the elegance of an ATMega644 requires.
The EEG amplifier has a cutoff of under 50 Hz, perfect for reading the Alpha waves correlated with concentration. The oscillations from the skull-cap are sent through the ATMega to MATLAB where after a pass through an FFT the brain waves are converted to mouse scroll wheel output.
There’s a demo video available where you can see spectators screaming at the poor test subject telling him to relax and concentrate on command. You can check that out after the break.
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This must be an example of when worlds collide. Who would have thought the geekery of Mindflex and Arduino could make its way into high fashion? But sure enough, this dress transforms based on the mental concentration of the model (must resist urge to crack joke here).
Details are a bit sparse, but you can get a look at the prototype in the video after the break. There’s no nudity; a larger skirt covers a more plain version. That over-skirt is connected to some type of motor system which is driven by an Arduino. When the EEG sensor in the hat detects a certain level of brain wave activity, the outer skirt is lifted and pulled to the back of the outfit, exposing the tighter version beneath.
[Lorenzo] wrote in to share the link to this garment hack. He mentions that a Lilypad and Mindflex are at work here. Looking more into the artist’s website we find this isn’t the only tech-wear produced. There’s a maternity outfit which can sense the baby’s beating heart, and harvest other data about both mother and baby, as well as a few others.
We can’t think this has much future as an everyday outfit, but more utilitarian versions are out there so we think the sky’s the limit on wearable tech.
Continue reading “Fashion leads to mind-controlled skirt-lifting contraption”