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One of my fave devices at Maker Faire Bay Area was (the future Mrs. Gareth Branwyn) Jeri Ellsworth’s “Brain Bulb,” a light bulb poised over her head which could read and respond to her “brain waves.” Here she describes the basic hardware and circuit design behind the device. The circuit is built around a low-power Analog Devices AD620 instrumentation amp.


Jeri (and some guy whose name I don’t recall) and her Brain Bulb at Maker Faire

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • http://geekfault.org Tito

    How could you! This is… hum… the japanese guy, from MythBusters :D

    • Alexander Taradov

      Grant Imahara

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

      • http://geekfault.org Tito

        Yeah, I know ;) Hey when is the next MythBusters? Didn’t saw one last wednesday

    • Alexander Taradov

      Grant Imahara

    • Alexander Taradov

      Grant Imahara

    • Alexander Taradov

      Grant Imahara

  • http://twitter.com/brianthecoder Brian Smith

    Kinda shocked you could write for Make and not know Grant Imahara. I hope that was sarcasm

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RWFWAEAG7OZTUGVIDGGKCUPDTE Walt Sommers

      Of course its sarcastic humor. The only people who don’t know who Grant is aren’t ever going to look at the article anyway. Brian’s [Smith] wit is right on the money. Wanna bet Grant probably loves the title? After all, we’ll mention Grant Imahara more often in replies than the article could even if it verbosely spelled his name each time he is referred to. On the other hand, if the article did mention Grant Imahara by name then Brian’s article wouldn’t be as much fun to read.

      Grant? Any input? lol

      • Anonymous

        Um… yes, it was meant as HUMOR. Grant was at Maker Faire via tickets that I gave him.

        PS: I’m not actually engaged to Jeri Ellsworth. More just having fun.

  • Anonymous

    Aside from the fact that the author is engaged to her, what does her future marital status have to do with her awesome hacker abilities?  Can’t she be known for her own abilities?

    Maybe the author should be know as the future Mr. Jeri Ellsworth?

  • Anonymous

    Aside from the fact that the author is engaged to her, what does her future marital status have to do with her awesome hacker abilities?  Can’t she be known for her own abilities?

    Maybe the author should be know as the future Mr. Jeri Ellsworth?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EBKGFIROAKWKLCPMQ6EGHSUOGQ Gravity Kills

      I’ve never been a fan of the whole ‘Mrs. Dude’s Name’ thing, being a Mrs. myself.  I took his last name.  I don’t need to take his first, too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jeri.ellsworth Jeri Ellsworth

         It’s just a joke.  Gareth doesn’t have a big enough shop for all of my tools, so it will never work out.

        • Anonymous

          Well now my geek manhood feels threatened, Jer. How much square footage are we talking about? :-)

          • http://www.facebook.com/jeri.ellsworth Jeri Ellsworth

            I’d say 6000sq ft to start.  I need room for expansion and large open spaces for splody experiments.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll call my contractor in the morning.

            (And they happily hacked ever-after.)

          • Anonymous

            I’ll call my contractor in the morning.

            (And they happily hacked ever-after.)

          • Anonymous

            It’s the “‘splody” part that might be too much for me. I’m probably too much of a candy-ass for you. Christmas poppers make me nervous. Jeri was a race car driver.

          • Anonymous

            It’s the “‘splody” part that might be too much for me. I’m probably too much of a candy-ass for you. Christmas poppers make me nervous. Jeri was a race car driver.

  • http://openid.claimid.com/rubyredrick Rick DeNatale

    This reminds me of an engineering open house at the University of Connecticut back in the early 1970s when I was an undergrad.

    One of the grad students was seated near a D.E.C. PDP-9 with an ace bandage around his head with wires running off to an ADC on the computer.

    Visitors would come up and ask questions, and his answers would magically appear on the console teletype.

    The secret, under the bandage were electrodes, and the computer was effectively a bit EMG machine, with a program interpreting his ‘brain waves’.  The brain waves were actually EMG signals created when he clenched his teeth, in morse code.

    Clever.

  • Anonymous

    She’s like Gyro Gearloose, always coming up with crazy cool things.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NLJU7THXR2QS4JFVMTC2TI57IM AMalePoet

    I was gonna comment that that looks like the guy that does the bush league projects on Myth Busters. His name Grant Imahara wasn’t in that part of my memory that would make it handy but i knew the face. Oh and isn’t this kind of thing a little yesterday? The maker shop has that truth detecter thing. My terminal right now limits content so the lower photo is all i get. It looks like she seems to be wearing a arm cuff with a wire? Last i checked brainvaes may reside in the head of the subject.    

  • http://www.litecraftlightbulbs.co.uk Litecraft Lightbulbs

    Nice. So what is the difference in “brain wave activity” when the red led lights up compared to when the green one does?

  • http://zemina.wordpress.com Zemina

    Reblogged this on Zemina Speaks and commented:
    Light up your noodles! This is really fun –