A game controlled by your brain, a neuro-adaptive feedback tool for creating music and a performance art piece created from sonified EEG data were just some of the brain-related projects built at Science Gallery Dublin’s Hack The Brain weekend at Trinity College Dublin earlier this month.
A total of 65 diverse experts from across the world participated in the hackathon. During the weekend-long event, a total of eleven projects were developed and judged by a multidisciplinary expert jury. Winners were selected on the basis of their scientific, artistic and creative merit. Team Harmonics of Mind (UK/DE) was awarded the first prize for their project Sensescapes. In a live performance, the team converted exported brain waves into sound in real time. The combination of sounds that were generated, reflecting the experience and observations of the person being recorded, were then played through a modified speaker covered with latex and powdered paint, which vibrated to allow a textured and coloured pattern to form, also projected in real time on the screen.
The first runners-up were Human CentipEEG (IE/FR), which connected three individuals through an EEG device, with all three responding to multisensory inputs in real time. They described the experience as being altruistic, as the relaxed brain state of the first person in the circle was passed on to the next, but also karmic, as the relaxed brain state came back around to the first person eventually. Shared Senses (NL/DE/IE) came in third, and their project explored whether brain measurements can recreate the intimate experience of being touched; their experiments were carried out using a hybrid EEG/fNIRSsystem, which also measures brain activity in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
This hackathon opens up new possibilities for collaborative, transdisciplinary work in the area of brain-computer interface technology, and reveals new ways to interpret, visualise and manipulate the mysteries of the brain. All of the code used over the weekend is open source, and is available, along with project descriptions, on the open-source repository GitHub. For more imagery of the weekend, you can view our Facebook gallery here.
On a side note, the Irish team who worked on the Human CentipEEG project actually hope to carry on their transdisciplinary work next month at Dublin Maker, a free-to-attend, community-run event taking place in Merrion Square. For more information on how to attend in order to meet the team, you can visit www.dublinmaker.ie.