Music Science
Collin’s Lab: Brainwave Beats

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.