Project Perceives Pondering, Prints Poetry

If poetry is your thing, this hack might convince you that your brain is more advanced than the rest of us poor sots. [Roni Brandini] designed a system that prints lines of poetry when you concentrate. The Mind Poetry project uses an EEG headset from Mattel’s Mindflex toy and pipes your brain’s signals to an Arduino Mega 2560. The system then looks for patterns of brain waves that indicate concentration. As you maintain your concentration, the system continues to print lines of poetry to a small display.

Tapping into the mindflex

[Roni] follows the standard Mindflex hack process by tapping into the data transmission pin on the Mindflex board. Optoisolation is provided by a PC817 to make sure wall power can’t accidentally bleed over into your own wetware. You could get away with just using batteries, but isolation is still a best practice.

The Arduino Brain Library is used to decipher the signal. The Mindflex picks up brain waves from roughly 1 Hz to 50 Hz, which is enough bandwidth to approximately determine mental state. For example, Theta waves are in the 4 Hz to 7 Hz range and can indicate a relaxed, meditative state. Low Beta waves range from 13 Hz to 17 Hz and indicate an alert, focused mental state. The Mindflex system is also generous in that it provides derived meditation and attention scores, ranging from 0 to 100.

It’s difficult to get a high level of precision with this sensor and sampling system, so the code uses [Roni]’s custom recipe of meditation score, attention score, and Low Beta value. He finds it most effective to trigger actions based on a relationship of these scores instead of focusing on the readings themselves. For example, an uptick in both Low Beta waves and the attention score indicate concentration.

Mindflex Brainwave Chart

If the wearer is concentrating, the system prints lines of poetry to the display and charts the three values. As an added gamification, it’ll tell you how many times you broke concentration before you completed the poem. One can imagine a game that tries to break concentration by printing other phrases or even activating an array of mechanical distractions.

If poetry isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. The “Mind Poetry” project also makes some headway (pun intended) with processing the EEG headset’s signals and triggering actions This means you don’t have to be into the poetry scene to reap the benefits. You now have the bones of a hack that lets you control things with your brain muscles and without your muscle muscles.

For inspiration, check out some other Mindflex hacks that let you order drinks with your mind (recommended), shock the heck out of people (not recommended), or even move around your skirt (uh… you do you?).

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Order Drinks With Your Mind

Barbots are a popular project around these parts. With a few pumps and a microcontroller or two, it’s possible to build something that can approximate mixing a drink. If you’ve got the patience and attention to detail, you can probably even get it to the point where it doesn’t just end up as a leaking wet mess on your mantlepiece. [Robert] has taken his build a step further by adding mind control.

To achieve this feat, a Mindflex EEG headset is pressed into service. This picks up brainwaves from the user, and processes them into two output values of concentration and meditation. Through some careful hacking, it’s possible to retrieve these values. [Robert] sends the values over Bluetooth to the barbot controller for processing. Concentration values over a certain threshold are used to cycle through the drink selection, while meditation values are used to confirm the order. Once it’s made, a voice command to “hit me” will see the drink served.

It’s a tidy build that adds a bit of fun to an already cool project. We’d love to see this taken up several levels of complexity to the point where you can directly order the drink you want, just by the power of thought. If your university-grade research project is at that level, be sure to let us know. Else, if you’re interested in how the barbot came to be, check out [Robert]’s earlier work.

 

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.

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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.

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MindFlex Watches As You Judge Others By Sight Alone

mindflex_headset

[Paul] really wanted to know what his brain was thinking.

No, really. He is aware of all the thoughts that come and go, but he wanted to know what was going on in his brain below his conscious thought stream. Armed with a MindFlex headset and a Teensy, he set out to decode what really was going on inside his head.

He spent a month crawling 35 million Google profiles, downloading each user’s pictures into a MySQL database. The Teensy was attached to the MindFlex sensor board, and collects all of the headset’s output over a serial connection.

His experiment consisted of flashing each of the profile pictures on his monitor for one second, recording 2 of the 11 available brainwave channels from the MindFlex. These values were then plotted out so that he could visualize the “Attention” and “Meditation” values captured by the headset. At the end of the day he discovered, interestingly enough, that looking at dogs relaxed him the most!

We would love to see what correlations could be drawn from his collected data, and what sorts of “hidden” thoughts are coursing through others’ brains. It could certainly end up being a double-edged sword, uncovering subconscious biases and other such things, but it’s an incredibly intriguing experiment to say the least.

Be sure to check out the video below of the experiment in progress.

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Controlling Fire With Your Mind (and Your Thumb)

 

[TechB] is using his mind to control fire. Well, what he’s really doing is using a Mindflex to control a lighter.

Many will remember the Mindflex from this shockingly awesome hack. But [TechB’s] approach follows in the footsteps of this Arduino interface for the device. He’s using the Arduino Brain Library to read data from the head-mounted EEG and sending commands to his own fire control system. Said system is composed of a cigarette lighter and a servo motor. The motor connects to the gas regulator on the lighter, opening it up when you concentrate and closing it when your mind wanders. The result is a higher flame to show more organized brain function. The only problem with the prototype is the burns you’ll get on your thumb from depressing the lighter’s valve while trying to get your thoughts in order.

Check out the video after the break to see this in action. [TechB] is looking a bit like the Borg at the beginning of the clip, making us wonder what other Mindflex hacks he’s already performed.

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Brain Wave Skimming On The Go

Mentok: The Mind Taker

Master EEG hackers [MOG] and [Tim] over at the Makers Local 256 have been working on creating a Bluetooth EEG listener made from a Mattel Mindflex. This build is based on an earlier build of a group called [Frontier Nerds] (thanks for the heads up [Nathan]!), but this version ditches the Arduino in favor of a basic serial to bluetooth adapter for the sake of power efficiency (as well as not having to keep an Arduino strapped to you head). We have covered a few Mindflex hacks before, but this seems to be the most useful in a practical sense. They have included the code for a Bluetooth serial data logger, and the earlier build shows a good example of captured data visualization.