Communicating from inside your dreams

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.

Playing Pong with your mind

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.

Continue reading “Playing Pong with your mind”

Fashion leads to mind-controlled skirt-lifting contraption

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”

Control a playlist with your mind

Because switching apps to change a song is such a taxing ordeal, [Oscar Celma] and [Ching-Wei Chen] decided to use their collective brainpower to change Last.FM playlists with their minds. They call their project Buddhafy, and it works by taking off-the-shelf EEG hardware and tying it into music streaming APIs.

For the build, the guys used a NeuroSky MindWave to read alpha waves inside [Oscar]’s head. The data from the MindWave was passed into a Python script that sends requests to the Last.FM and Spotify APIs. High alpha waves in brain wave patterns correspond with concentration or a deep meditative state. If [Oscar] concentrates very hard, he’ll be rewarded with calm and relaxing tunes. If [Oscar] loses focus, the music changes to the best song ever written.

The guys put up the slides from the presentation they gave at MusicHackDay in San Fransisco this last week. There’s also a video of their build in action; you can check that out after the break.

Continue reading “Control a playlist with your mind”

Blow your mind with the Brainwave Disruptor

rich_decibles_brainwave_disruptor

Whether you believe in it or not, the science behind brainwave entrainment is incredibly intriguing. [Rich Decibels] became interested in the subject, and after doing some research, decided to build an entrainment device of his own.

If you are not familiar with the concept, brainwave entrainment theory suggests that low-frequency light and sound can be used to alter brain states, based on the assumption that the human brain will change its frequency to correspond to dominant external stimulus. [Rich’s] device is very similar to [Mitch Altman’s] “Brain Machine”, and uses both of these methods in an attempt to place the user in an altered state of mind.

[Rich] installed a trio of LEDs into a set of goggles, wiring them along with a set of headphones to his laser-cut enclosure. Inside, the Brainwave Disruptor contains an Arduino, which is tasked with both generating light patterns as well as bit-banged audio streams.

Well, how does it work? [Rich] reports that it performs quite nicely, causing both visual and auditory hallucinations along with the complete loss of a sense of time. Sounds interesting enough to give it a try!

EEG-assisted hand control

ipsihand

[Sam Fok], an engineering student at the Washington University School of Engineering wrote in to share a project he and his classmates [Raphael Schwartz, Mark Wronkiewicz, Charles Holmes, Jessica Zhang, Nathan Brodell, and Thane Somers] have been working on as their entry in the 2011 RESNA Student Design Competition. Their project, IpsiHand, is designed to help rehabilitate those who have suffered a stroke or other Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Most motor functions in the body are controlled by the opposite hemisphere of the brain, a process called contralateral motor control. When a patient suffers from TBI, they often lose control over some portion of the body opposite the injury. Recent studies have shown however, that while most motor control is contralateral, hand movements also create ipsilateral brain activity. This means that the uninjured side of the brain can effectively control both hands, with a bit of mechanical assistance.

Their process uses an Emotiv Epoch EEG headset, which we have discussed before, to monitor the patients’ brain for activity. The data is sent wirelessly to a computer which processes the data, singling out ipsilateral brain waves. The computer then actuates a modified hand orthosis to control grasping in real time.

We think their work is fantastic, and the team’s creation has a wide array of applications in the field of therapy and assisted living. We wish them luck in their competition, and hope to see this technology put to good use in the future.

Brainwave-based assistive technology in the home

eeg_smart_house

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating disease that eventually causes the afflicted individual to lose all control of their motor functions, while leaving their mental faculties intact. Those suffering from the illness typically live for only a handful of years before succumbing to the disease. On some occasions however, patients can live for long periods after their original diagnosis, and in those cases assistive technology becomes a key component in their lives.

[Alon Bukai and Ofir Benyamin], students at Ort Hermalin Collage in Israel, have been working hard on creating an EEG-controlled smart house for ALS patients under the guidance of their advisor [Amnon Demri]. The core of their project focuses around controlling everyday household items using brainwaves. They use an Emotiv EPOC EEG headset which monitors the user’s brainwaves when focusing on several large buttons displayed on a computer screen. These buttons are mapped to different functions, ranging from turning lights on and off to changing channels on a cable box. When the user focuses on a particular task, the computer analyzes the headset’s output and relays the command to the proper device.

As of right now, the EEG-controlled home is only a project for their degree program, but we hope that their efforts help spur on further advancements in this field of research.

Continue reading to see a pair of videos demonstrating their EEG-controlled smart house in action.

Continue reading “Brainwave-based assistive technology in the home”