Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

Measuring brainwaves is not just for neuroscientists anymore – new affordable consumer level EEG devices ( & even some toys) do a respectable job at measuring tiny voltage pulses given off by neurons firing in the brain. Cool – but how shall we use these new found sensory powers? To automatically compose electronic music, of course!

Those interested in listening to beats made by their own brains (with help from a MindSet device) can download and run the MindSet Beat Sequencer code for Processing. The software has not been optimized/streamlined as of yet, but if you familiarize yourself with the required proMIDI & MindSetProcessing libraries, it will likely make sense. Those without a MindSet might consider modifying the Beat Sequencer code to automatically generate MIDI loops by choosing random patterns every second or so (fun!).

As I mentioned in the video, I struggled with recurring connectivity issues between the MindSet and Processing within Mac OS 10.6.7. (still unsure as to a cause, though a snafu in the serial RXTX library seems possible) Removing the device from Bluetooth preferences, shutting down, rebooting, and re-pairing the device was my only therapy. Sean Montgomery (author of the Biosensing Primer in MAKE Volume 26) assures me he had no such issues using WIndows.

Subscribe to the MAKE Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube and Vimeo.

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


Related

Comments

  1. Can you tell me where you got the EEG headset.

    Thanks

    Seth

    1. note: see my reply below

  2. whoops – forgot to actually link NeuroSky’s MindSet page site:

    http://store.neurosky.com/collections/hardware/products/mindset

    I’m actually borrowing the MindSet from MAKE’s project lab. FYI – NeuroSky’s MindWave device has less features but costs half as much:

    http://store.neurosky.com/collections/hardware/products/mindwave-1

    No sign of a MindWave processing library though.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Use the Mindset library and hack back on what doesn’t work. They’re basically the same piece of kit.

      I too have problems with the BT, as the PC I’m using it on has
      its own incompatible BT preinstalled. I’m going to try it on one which doesn’t.

      1. (fyi – different avatar, same Collin)

        Yes, that’d be the first strategy I’d try. The Mindwave uses an RF dongle instead of BT so it might alleviate our problems altogether.

  3. Daniel Kim says:

    Ha ha! I just read about anime cosplay cat-ears that respond to your brain activity

    http://www.geekosystem.com/cat-ears-mind-control/

    Made by

    http://neurowear.net/

  4. I keep waiting for the music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to start…..;^)

  5. Cool stuff, Colin, but if you sped up the BPM and/or allowed for a higher resolution than 1/4 notes, you’d get much more interesting, dynamic patterns. The data is being a bit too harshly quantized.

    1. I tried – speeding things up sounded a bit too chaotic. Extending the pattern list resolution to 16th notes would make things more interesting – sure it could be dynamically generated too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Collin,

    Amazing video, gonna try it out and scare the cat!

    I was wondering about the M4L patch you used, can you make it available at all?

    Thanks

  7. Jim Lombardo says:

    Neat project Collin! But the Processing sketch you posted (MindSetBeatSequencer-110505b.zip) appears to be corrupt.

    1. Tim Mason says:

      MindSet Beat Sequencer file is corrupted and will not unzip??? :( Ahhhhhh

  8. This rules Collin! Hooking up a strobe is a good idea, you can easily induce different brainwave states if you have lights blinking at the correct frequency. cf Dreamachine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamachine

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Colin,
    I bought the MindWave just because of your hint, thank you very much.
    But: could you please upload the file  <> a second time somewhere?
    I tried the OSX native Archive Utility and got “The Unarchiver” as well – with the outcome that it ll create *.cpgz and *.rar in a loop. When trying to open this one in Windows 7 I am told the *.pde is “destroyed.”
    Many thanks in advance and:
    best regards from Germany,
    Paul

  10. Scott Young says:

    Hi, I’m having trouble downloading the code as other people have said.  Great idea, was laughing into my cornflakes the morning I saw this.  Perfect mix of science and fun.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  11. Scott Young says:

    Hi, I’m having trouble downloading the code as other people have said.  Great idea, was laughing into my cornflakes the morning I saw this.  Perfect mix of science and fun.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  12. Rabia Akbar says:

    please re-upload the source code zip-file,the file is corrupted

  13. That seems like an interesting device… has anyone tried to take it a part ? I am curious about what it’s actually made of…(dry electrodes, Bluetooth ?anything else?)  it might be the case that people can build their own without too much hassle for much less than the price

  14. Duuuude

    I messed my pants when I found this video. I have been researching for months how to sonify eeg data using my Emotiv Epoc.EEG device. Can I get there form here or do I need to buy the mindset? This may sound strange but this is a actual dream coming close to becoming true. Very happy. THANK YOU!!!!!

    Dan

    1. Tim Mason says:

      I was wondering if you had a working copy of MindSetBeatSequencer-110505b.zip as the one on this page is corrupt. Could you send me a copy please.

  15. Benjamin says:

    Hi Collins, very nice video.
    I tried downloading the zip file, but I cannot unzip :
    file #1: bad zipfile offset (local header sig): 0

    would you mind sending me the file, I am prety exited to try your code out.

    Cheers men, and thanks

  16. [...] The following movie was very inspiring today. After discussion we found out that it is not possible to see the different mind waves with the device we use. The device in the movie is much more expensive. Link: http://blog.makezine.com/2011/05/05/collins-lab-brainwave-beats/ [...]

  17. Tim Mason says:

    I was wondering if you had a working copy of MindSetBeatSequencer-110505b.zip as the one on this page is corrupt. Could you send me a copy please.

  18. [...] http://blog.makezine.com/?p=95705Measuring brainwaves is not just for neuroscientists anymore – new affordable consumer level EEG devices ( & even some toys) do a respectable job at measuring tiny voltage pulses given off by neurons firing in the brain.Cool – but how shall we use these new found sensory powers? To automatically compose electronic music, of course! [...]

  19. dubcults says:

    any chance to get another link for
    MindSetBeatSequencer-110505b.zip

    file seems to be corrupt.. thanks!