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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 is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. Tito says:

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

    1. Alexander Taradov says:

      Grant Imahara

      1. Tito says:

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

      2. Tito says:

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

      3. Tito says:

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

      4. Tito says:

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

      5. Tito says:

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

      6. Tito says:

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

    2. Alexander Taradov says:

      Grant Imahara

    3. Alexander Taradov says:

      Grant Imahara

    4. Alexander Taradov says:

      Grant Imahara

  2. Brian Smith says:

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

    1. Walt Sommers says:

      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

      1. Anonymous says:

        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.

  3. Anonymous says:

    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?

  4. Anonymous says:

    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?

    1. 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.

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

        1. Anonymous says:

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

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

          2. Anonymous says:

            I’ll call my contractor in the morning.

            (And they happily hacked ever-after.)

          3. Anonymous says:

            I’ll call my contractor in the morning.

            (And they happily hacked ever-after.)

          4. Anonymous says:

            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.

          5. Anonymous says:

            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.

  5. 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.

  6. Anonymous says:

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

  7. AMalePoet says:

    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.    

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