Fans of the AMC show Breaking Bad will remember the Original Gangsta [Hector Salamanca]. When first introduced to the story he communicates by ringing a bell. But after being moved to a nursing home he communicates by spelling out messages with the assistance of a nurse who holds up a card with columns and rows of letters. This hack automates that task, trading the human assistant for a blink-based input system.
[Bob Stone] calls the project BlinkTalk. The user wears a Neurosky Mindwave Mobile headset. This measures brainwaves using EEG. He connects the headset to an mBed microcontroller using a BlueSMiRF Bluetooth board. The microcontroller processes the EEG data to establish when the user blinks their eyes.
The LCD screen first scrolls down each row of the displayed letters and numbers. When the appropriate row is highlighted a blink will start scrolling through the columns until a second blink selects the appropriate character. Once the message has been spelled out the “SAY!” menu item causes the Emic2 module to turn the text into speech.
If you think you could build something like this to help the disabled, you should check out thecontrollerproject.com where builders are connected with people in need.
Continue reading “Building a blink based input device”
This week we saw an interesting animated motorcycle tail light over on Reddit. But there wasn’t really enough background to get its own feature.
The NeuroKnitting project captures brainwaves by weaving them into a scarf.
On Semiconductor is showing off an 8x8x8 LED cube which they claim as 12,000 LEDs. We can’t figure out where all those LEDs are used in the design, but maybe you can. Here’s one that we know has 4096 LEDs in its matrix.
[Jeff] used hard drive platters as the disc section of his original Enterprise desk model.
Play around with an SNES controller and Arduino by following [Damon’s] guide.
Hackaday Alum [Jeremy Cook] posted an update of his laser graffiti project. His earlier effort used camera tricks to capture the image but this time around he’s exciting phosphorescent glow material to make a persistent display visible to the human eye.
This server hides in plain sight after being wrapped in a hard cover book binding. Hopefully this won’t cause heat dissipation problems.
[Trumpkin] built his own Nixie tube wristwatch which we think has the potential to be as neat as the one [Woz] wears.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen [Michael]’s adventures in electronics and lucid dreaming. With commercial EEG hardware, [Michael] is able to communicate from inside his dreams with Morse code and record his rhythmic blinking for data analysis when he wakes up. His project is called Lucid Scribe, and now it’s open to just about everyone – including brain experimenters with OpenEEG hardware.
OpenEEG is a project that aims to reduce the cost of EEG hardware by providing the hardware, electrodes, software, and documentation to build your own EEG headset. It’s a great tool in the field of biofeedback, but [Michael] is going one step further; he’s busy writing an algorithm that will detect REM sleep and play an audio track while he’s in a dream state to trigger a lucid dream.
[Michael] points out that anyone with OpenEEG hardware including the DIY Olmex board can contribute to his Lucid Scribe database. You might also get some lucid dreaming time in, but then you’ll have to wake to the crushing reality of real life.
[Michael], [Tom], and a few other people on the Lucid Scribe Database project have been using off-the-shelf EEG equipment to invoke lucid dreaming. Yes, that’s where you take control of your dreams and become a god. This requires wearing an EEG setup while you sleep, and these products aren’t very comfortable sleeping wear. [Tom] decided to take apart a NeuroSky MindWave and turn it into something comfortable to wear all night.
The folks at the Lucid Scribe Database log their dreams with consumer-level EEG equipment, usually something made by NeuroSky. The NeuroSky MindWave is the smallest and cheapest EEG headset available, but it’s still a hard plastic device not conducive to sleeping.
[Tom] removed all the guts and electronic goodies out of his MindWave and attached them to an elastic headband. The MindWave has two sensors – a forehead and ear lobe sensor. For the forehead sensor, [Tom] simply soldered a piece of wire to a penny and attached it to the elastic. The ear lobe sensor in the stock MindWave is a simple clip that was kept in the stock configuration for [Tom]’s mod.
Now that [Tom] has a much more comfortable EEG setup, he can get on with improving his lucid dreaming skills and even try communicating via Morse from inside a dream.
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.
Continue reading “Controlling a cockroach leg with your mind”
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.
Continue reading “Controlling a robot with your mind”
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.