Interview with Sam, the collective Neurohack, around new applications tools for reading brain waves.
What is neurohacking ?
Neuro-Hack is also called tmpbci, tmp such as /tmp/lab (hackerspace original host) and BCI as Brain Computer Interface, but it is not only to create brain-computer interfaces, we would also propose a simple and creative.
When and how is it that you discovered ?
We started with a helmet mall with a single electrode dry, which was immediately thrown software stupido-marketing to write our own. That was a year ago. For several applications have been developed, mainly graphics and music and returned at workshops in association The Pagliacci or as an installation at the request of Museum of Contemporary Art Vitry-sur-Seine.
Several pathways are followed simultaneously, the mutant As the project to a “engine” supporting the maximum I / O possible. Thus the hardware side accepts inputs from various commercial and helmets devices DIY, Software offers on the side 7 different platforms, a wide spectrum of uses : LAN, Internet, its, DMX projector control, videos, OSC…
Thus we can realize all the applications that can pass through your head like taking a Mindset and generate video or take a openEEG and make its. The doors are wide open imagination, OSC example allows access to Logic, LIVE, MaxMSP, MIDI, PureData, Processing, Quartz Composer, Reactor, SuperCollider, yyyy, iphone, iPAD, Android…
What are your current projects ?
After an initial round of applications in the computer screen we enter the second iteration, this time in the real world, with more electronics and music, while continuing the integration of existing hardware and software systems as openVIBE of INRIA. To give examples, we consider the use of 3D objects or emotions, to possible interactions with figurines or robots simple, the composition of music or the realization of a system measuring brain activity via oxygen consumption to replace / in addition to brain waves.
What is the measurement of oxygen consumption ?
For several years it has been shown that the infrared LED light “bounces” on the cortex differently according to the report of a blood component : hemoglobin with or without oxygen. The body is quite transparent to these wavelengths, a transmitter and a sensor and voila. This is one of the major pathways currently in neuroscience using this “news” physiological characteristic of the brain (local consumption of oxygen). Studies of rain everywhere, even NASA, since it is the same phenomenon studied with fMRI a ticket in millions of euros ...
Among the possible creative uses of this technology, which do you prefer ?
Control of widgets (“thingy” from the remote control car to the real vehicle) is a classical subject of academic. There are free software to do. Neurohack uses some control as a means and not as an end, actually putting the emphasis on creating.
Typically in research, find something immediately opens new questions. The latest achievement often understand the whole experience and meet the demand of a museum to offer a visualization of “mental space” was unimaginable at the beginning.
However, current achievements are all very exciting and sometimes respond to impossible dreams as compose and play songs without knowing anything about the music. This is not new, Mozart and others have already thought, but it was obviously much more features available now. In the most outlandish, with a little robot will certainly one day be a more arty of magic hat d’Harry Potter.
What are the future prospects of use of neurohacking within Hackerspaces (areas of research operated by citizen communities)?
There is little hackerspaces who are actively involved on the brain. All projects are very different, and the brmlab Prague is active to test existing technologies – more or less stringent – “modifying” supposedly the brain organ. Neurohack wants more brain interface / Machine externally and increasing our ancillary “capabilities”.
The hackerspaces are places where one can find many talents, ranging from a mechanical bunch areas of computer through the electronic. In the longer term would launch a Neurohack sister project to meet real needs interface : it seems such a scandalous USB braille display costs between 2000 and 4000 euros. We are already working on some tracks.
You plan collaborations ?
We are free of shackles, no obligation to publish or productivity, for example makes us open to all proposals, scientifically honest. One does not use medical grade materials unaffordable – even if we would be delighted to have – So the possibilities are different, but not uninteresting.
Some past and future collaborations : the control part of light projectors is based on a program is to Hackspace London. The musical space created in correspondence with the mental space uses a realization open source a student at the University of Michigan. They were among the first in a long list of collaborative artists with varied and stimulating, Composers, designers, An academic laboratory companies ... also contacted us to participate together in an event 2012 towards the public on European funds.
Do you think the brain-machine interfaces will be part of everyday life in a more or less near future ?
In practice an interface to Minority Report is not sustainable long, mouse is not dead. More than sexytude, many other characteristics are taken into account at all costs and replace a mouse with a few dollars or a few fingers on the glass is not always the most relevant. Outside the artwork very fashionable right now, is the biofeedback ré-éducatif that seems closest in a non “mystique”.
The implants are already a reality in conditions such as Parkinson. The EEG signal Extra head is very weak and polluted by the movements or the electromagnetic environment requiring complex filtering of the signal. Despite marketing speech, the fiabilité, portability are still areas of research for consumer use.
Thank you very much, and soon.
For more information :
The twitter account of tmpbci, to be aware of their activities.