Can you read my mind?

  1. Anyone heard of Collin from MAKE? He has a video entitled Brainwave Beats on Youtube. I'm pretty sure he used a device called an EEG to create music.

    How does an EEG (or a plain electrode for that matter) extract signals from the brain? Information within the brain is sent via electric impulses (like current). I assume these impulses send out EM waves, and it's these that the electrodes respond to?

    If every word in our vocabulary has a specific impulse (& therefore a mirrored wave), then what's stopping us from sending these signals through something like a microcontroller (arduino?) and spitting out our minds?

    Just tossing around project ideas for my arduino. Open to suggestions.
  2. jcsd
  3. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    EEG just uses electrical contact with your skull's skin to pick up blurred versions of what is going on inside the brain. It's pretty course in its measurement capabilities.

    Much better is PET scans, especially using dies. Let me look for a couple good links.

    There have also been some studies trying to decode the higher resolution images, where pictures were shown to test subjects, and their (high resolution) brain activities were recorded to work on correlations. I believe they's had some pretty good results, but certainly not to the "brain dictation" stage yet.

    EDIT - definitely not Arduino-level projects, though! :smile:
  4. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

  5. Berkemen, thanks for the links. That is quite advanced...

    My roommate is under the impression that our house is haunted. I want to scare her via audio. What would be the best way to go about doing this?

    Wireless would be bliss, but a timer circuit would be easier. Upload audio onto mp3 device, and send out the signal via audio jack to some timing circuit? I assume I'd have to set the audio track on a loop.

    Or can I preload the audio directly onto my arduino and code the timing (like hit play @ 2am or in 6 hours).
  6. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    No, we're not going to help you play mean-hearted practical jokes. If you have general programming questions, we can help you with them.
  7. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,303
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Why go to all this trouble when all you need is some lengths of cotton to make things move remotely in a darkened room. That trick has been used by generations of 'Mystics" and Mediums, to fool the gullible. You are, of course, duty bound to let her in on the joke very soon after it has worked. As Berkeman says, it is a potentially mean trick.
  8. There are five of us living together. We have fun:-)

    The learning curve of electronics is steep. The slope is near infinite. You may be able to pin down the components, but the applications are endless. This is how I feel about my arduino board. I like to know my boundaries before I get started.

    Do you think it would be fair to state that the input of the arduino is limited to light and sound?

    At least when extracting information from the environment? EM radiation and changing pressures of mediums should encompass everything?

    What about gases though? Breathalyzers? Humidity sensors?

    If you had to explain to someone how the arduino interacts with an environment, you'd probably state (in some way or another) that the arduino is worthless if you can't turn that something into an electrical signal. Maybe I should turn my question around and ask what are all the ways you can get an electrical signal (like via light by means of a photocell or via sound by means of microphone)?

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  9. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 14,303
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In addition to light and sound there is always the possibility of using pressure pads to trigger an event. Think 'intruder alarms'. Movement sensors, based on IR and sonar are available and will work on normal logic signal levels afaik.

    Unless you have unlimited time and effort to devote to a project, you need to aim at something finite. Software and hardware development are both involved here. Which one is your forte? Software is much quicker to develop and modify so I would go for simple hardware and cleverer software.
  10. What is the difference between a pressure pad and a piezoelectric disk? Both have the capability to generate electric signals, but do they both use crystals?
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