The electroencephalogram, first recorded by the controversial physiologist Hans Berger in the 1920s in an attempt to demonstrate telepathy, has become one of the principal methodologies of cognitive neuroscience. The electrodes placed on the scalp detect the summated electrical discharges of populations of neurons in the cortex, with this signal amplified and filtered to produce the EEG trace. Applications of EEG have revealed much about the nature of cognitive processes such as attention, perception, motor preparation and memory, while EEG-based brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have allowed paralysed patients with ALS and Locked-in Syndrome to communicate again.
In Human CentipEEG, three individuals will — by virtue of their EEG — effectively become one organism responding to multisensory inputs in real time, with each person acting as one sense modality. Visual input will be perceived by the first person, and their resultant EEG signal will be converted into musical output; this music will be heard by the second person, whose elicited EEG will be converted to tactile vibrations; a third person will experience these tactile sensations, and their recorded EEG will be converted into the visual output perceived by the first person. This ambitious project aims to create a closed loop of the three participants, whereby the emergent EEG at each stage of the processing chain is converted into a different sensory modality and the coherence between them compared. If successful, Human CentipEEG will turn the electroencephalogram into both the stimulus and the response, posing the question: where does the signal begin, and where does it end?
Richard Roche was first employed as a lecturer in Maynooth University’s Department of Psychology in 2005 following postgraduate and postdoctoral study in Trinity College Dublin. He established Ireland’s first high-density EEG laboratory, with research interests in memory, spatial representation, psychosis, stroke, and decision-making. To date, he has published 22 research articles and one book, and he is associate editor for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. He is currently involved in collaborations between Maynooth University and the Stroke Unit of Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, as well as the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dún Laoghaire. He served on the Neuroscience Ireland committee from 2005-2014, as Vice-President 2010-2012 and President 2012-2014, and was the founding President of the Irish Brain Council in 2013. He has been a staunch supporter of neuroscience advocacy, outreach and engagement with the public for the past number of years.
Looking for: "Personnel-wise, it’ll require some hardcore EEG/coding type people, maybe a musician and maybe a designer — someone with a read design background could make it look amazing."