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> Brain"wave" research: A history., Your Musical Brain.
Warren Bonesteel
post May 30, 2006, 08:54 AM
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by Andrew Brouse
It is mid-August 2003. In the midst of a sweltering heat wave, James Fung and other students of University of Toronto "Cyberman" professor Steve Mann are hectically preparing sophisticated electronic and computer technology for a unique sonic and visual event: an improvised collective musical piece created interactively from the brainwaves of audience participants. REGEN3: Regenerative Brainwave Music will be orchestrated by feeding tiny micro-voltages gathered from forty wired performers into a responsive EEG network: a "cyborg collective" comprising the cybernetic interactions between performers, musicians, electronics, and computing machines. Norbert Wiener, the originator of cybernetics, would be impressed.
Unfortunately, the planned performance coincides with the largest blackout in North America's history. Major cities from New York to Toronto are effectively shut down. Pre-empted by the failure of a far more massive network - the North American power grid - this networked performance of music and minds has to wait for another day.
Music of the Mind
Two weeks later on August 30, 2003, Steve Mann and James Fung do manage to gather together the needed human energies to present REGEN3 / Regenerative Brainwave Music. [] Using hardware from Thought Technology [] and the PD interactive programming environment, [] the brainwaves of the audience-performers are channelled into the creation of an interactive sonic and visual environment, where the participants' brainwave patterns create the music and lighting effects for the evening.
Readers having sensations of déjà-vu are not entirely mistaken: this event was only the most recent salient example in the history of brainwave music in which diligent visionary individuals, artists and scientists, have worked together to synthesize hybrid works of art-science. Since 1965, when Alvin Lucier composed the first piece of music using human brainwaves as a generative source, brainwave music has undergone a fascinating evolution. To fully appreciate the directions this music is taking today, it is helpful to reflect upon the history of bioelectricity, brainwaves, and the context in which brainwave music has evolved.
Brainwaves are a form of "bioelectricity", or electrical phenomena in animals or plants. The history of research into bioelectricity began around 1780 with Luigi Galvani, who discovered that he could cause muscles in a frog's leg to contract by applying an electrical current to exposed nerves. This work was followed by that of Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond, considered the founder of modern electrophysiology, who in the 1840s began to measure biological currents in electric fish and later in humans via electrodes embedded directly in his own arm.
In 1875 the British neurophysiologist Richard Caton succeeded in measuring brain electrical activity using electrodes implanted directly in the brain tissue of rabbits and monkeys. At the time, it was not believed to be possible to extract meaningful data by measuring more non-invasively, with electrodes placed on the human scalp. (Electrical implants directly into the brain were not widely used on humans for obvious ethical reasons.)
History of Brainwaves
Human brainwaves were first measured in 1924 by Hans Berger, at the time an unknown German psychiatrist. He termed these electrical measurements the "electroencephalogram" (EEG), which literally means "brain electricity writing". Berger published his brainwave results in 1929 as Über das Elektrenkephalogramm des Menschen ("On the Electroencephalogram of Man"). The English translation did not appear until 1969.
Berger is a complex and enigmatic figure in the history of medical science. He had a lifelong obsession with finding scientific proof of a causal linkage between the psychical world of human consciousness and the physiological world of neurological electrical signals. He pursued this quest in the most methodical, disciplined scientific manner possible, determined to explain observed telepathic phenomena in terms of theories of the conservation of energy. Yet Berger's belief in this hypothesis stemmed not from his research itself, but from a personal subjective experience. Berger had almost died in an accident in his youth. The very same day he received a sudden unexpected telegram from his family inquiring into his health. Berger believed that his family had received some sort of telepathic communication from him at his moment of near-death.
Sonification of Brainwaves
Initially, Berger's work was largely ignored. It was not until five years after his first paper was published (when E.D. Adrian and B.H.C. Mathews verified Berger's results) that his discovery began to draw attention. In their 1934 article in the journal Brain [], Adrian and Matthews also reported successfully audifying and listening to human brainwaves which they had recorded according to Berger's methods. This was the first example of the "sonification" of human brainwaves for auditory display.
Music from Brainwaves
If we accept that the perception of an act as art is what makes it art, then the first instance of the use of brainwaves to generate music did not occur until 1965. Alvin Lucier [] had begun working with physicist Edmond Dewan in 1964, performing experiments that used brainwaves to create sound. The next year, he was inspired to compose a piece of music using brainwaves as the sole generative source. Music for Solo Performer was presented, with encouragement from John Cage, at the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in 1965. Lucier performed this piece several more times over the next few years, but did not continue to use EEG in his own compositions.
In the late 1960s, Richard Teitelbaum [] was a member of the innovative Rome-based live electronic music group Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). In performances of Spacecraft (1967) he used various biological signals including brain (EEG) and cardiac (EKG) signals as control sources for electronic synthesizers. Over the next few years, Teitelbaum continued to use EEG and other biological signals in his compositions and experiments as triggers for nascent Moog electronic synthesizers.
Ecology of the Skin
Then in the late 1960s, another composer, David Rosenboom [], began to use EEG signals to generate music. In 1970-71 Rosenboom composed and performed Ecology of the Skin, in which ten live EEG performer-participants interactively generated immersive sonic/visual environments using custom-made electronic circuits. Around the same time, Rosenboom founded the Laboratory of Experimental Aesthetics at York University in Toronto, which encouraged pioneering collaborations between scientists and artists. For the better part of the 1970s, the laboratory undertook experimentation and research into the artistic possibilities of brainwaves and other biological signals in cybernetic biofeedback artistic systems. Many artists and musicians visited and worked at the facility during this time including John Cage, David Behrman, LaMonte Young, and Marian Zazeela. Some of the results of the work at this lab were published in the book Biofeedback and the Arts (Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada, 1976). A more recent 1990 monograph by Rosenboom, Extended Musical Interface with the Human Nervous System [], remains the definitive theoretical document in this area.
Simultaneously, Manford Eaton was also building electronic circuits to experiment with biological signals at Orcus Research in Kansas City. He initially published an article titled Biopotentials as Control Data for Spontaneous Music (Orcus) in 1968. Then, in 1971, Eaton first published his manifesto Bio-Music: Biological Feedback Experiential Music Systems (Orcus; republished in 1974 by Something Else Press), arguing for completely new biologically generated forms of music and experience.
In France, scientist Roger Lafosse was doing research into brainwave systems and proposed, along with musique concrète pioneer Pierre Henry, a sophisticated live performance system known as Corticalart (art from the cerebral cortex). In a series of free performances done in 1971, along with generated electronic sounds, one saw a television image of Henry in dark sunglasses with electrodes hanging from his head, projected so that the content of his brainwaves changed the colour of the image according to his brainwave patterns.
Brain-Computer Interface
Unbeknownst to these various composers, Jacques Vidal, a computer science researcher at UCLA, was working to develop the first direct brain-computer interface (BCI) using a batch-processing IBM computer. In 1973, he published Toward Direct Brain-Computer Communication (Annual Review of Biophysics and Bioengineering Vol. 2). Incidentally, the computer used in Vidal's research was one of the nodes on the nascent Arpanet, precursor to the Internet. Vidal has recently revisited this field in his speculative 1998 article Cyberspace Bionics. []
Burst of Alpha
Throughout most of the 1970s there was a burst of activity in brainwave music and art. Parallel to the work in Toronto, the Montréal group SONDE, along with Charles de Mestral, did some brainwave performances. At Logos in Ghent, Belgium, real-time brainwave triggered concerts were presented in 1972 and 1973. In Baltimore the Peabody Electronic Music Consort did performances. Rosenboom and others continued their work at Mills College.
Toward the end of the 1970s, biofeedback and brainwave research fell into a period of quiescence due to many factors, primarily a lack of funding and of sufficiently powerful computers. Almost nothing happened in the field for about ten years.
Then in 1990 two scientists, Benjamin Knapp and Hugh Lusted, began working on a computer interface called the BioMuse. [] It permitted a human to control certain computer functions via bioelectric signals including EEG and EMG (electromyogram: a measure of muscle-related bioelectricity). In 1992, Atau Tanaka [] was commissioned by Knapp and Lusted to compose and perform music using the BioMuse as a controller. Tanaka continued to use the BioMuse, primarily as an EMG controller, in live performances throughout the 1990s. In 1996, Knapp and Lusted wrote an article for Scientific American about the BioMuse called Controlling Computers with Neural Signals. []
Current Work
During the past five years or so there has been a renewed interest in brainwave music and a resurgence in its performance. Much of this new work is naive in the sense that the musicians are not fully cognisant of the rich history of brainwave music and research which has preceded them. There has also been something of a bifurcation between those using hobbyist "biofeedback" equipment or techniques and those preferring to take a more rigorous "scientific" approach. Nonetheless, current advances in Brain-Computer Interface technology, along with advanced digital signal processing and more sophisticated aesthetic theoretical foundations, will inevitably drive the field forward into a new era of possibilities and music not yet imagined.
Below is a sampling of some of the new and promising projects currently underway.
Music and Art
Artist/musician Neam Cathode showed Cyber Mondrian [] at Montreal's Oboro Gallery in 2001. This work incorporated Mondrian-like generated images with synthesized sound that was controlled using the Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyzer or IBVA system. []
New York improviser David First created OPERATION: KRACPOT [] in 2002 using "brainwave entrainement" and the phenomenon of the Schumann resonances [] to create haunting music.
Paras Kaul, the so-called "Brain Wave Chick", [] has been using the IBVA system in her own brainwave music at George Mason University for many years.
Adam Overton, a student of David Rosenboom at CalArts, has very recently performed his series of works entitled Sitting.Breathing.Series and Other Biometric Work. []
Andrew Brouse, the author of this article, created his InterHarmonium [] in 2001. This Internet-enabled brainwave performance system uses Max/MSP [] and OpenSoundControl [] software.
BCI Research
Jessica Bayliss has a background in music technology, and has been working on Brain-Computer Interfaces for real-time control of computers at the Rochester Institute of Technology. []
Eduardo Miranda runs the Neuromusic lab at the University of Plymouth, [] where researchers are trying to further earlier research into brainwave music using the latest advances in Brain-Computer Interfaces.
There are other active BCI research projects at universities around the world, including the University of British Columbia, [] the Wadsworth Centre [] in Albany, the University of Tubingen, [] and the University of Technology Graz. []
Andrew Brouse is a multidisciplinary musician, composer, artist, and technologist. He has worked in the contemporary intermedia arts and music for over fifteen years. He currently lives in Montreal.
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Warren Bonesteel
post May 30, 2006, 08:55 AM
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January/February 2001

Paras Kaul
“Brainwave Chick” Makes Music with Her Mind
By Emily Yaghmour
At her desk in Mason Hall, Paras Kaul is the coordinator of Electronic Publications in the University Relations office, but when she straps on her electrode-studded headband and steps out in front of an audience, she becomes the Brainwave Chick.

Kaul’s interest in the power of the mind has been lifelong. Her father, a broadcaster in television and radio, was a skilled hypnotist, she says, and he frequently hypnotized her when she was a child. In a state of hypnosis, Kaul explains, one is able to relax and think with a much clearer mind. Her father died suddenly when she was only 14, leaving her not only without a father but also unable to return to that mental state he had helped her experience.

In 1992, Kaul purchased a computer system that she now uses to help her revisit that state of mind to which her father introduced her. The system, the Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyzer (IBVA), allows people to monitor their brain wave frequencies. The IBVA system includes a headband with three embedded electrodes that detect brain wave activity and a transmitter that attaches to the headband and sends brain signals to a small receiver. The receiver connects to a computer, which, when equipped with the system’s software, processes the brain wave frequencies and amplitudes as a graph on the computer screen.

The graph is broken into segments, each of which has a specific frequency range. While awake, people generally stay in the beta range, says Kaul. In this range, brain wave frequencies are relatively high, reflecting a more agitated state, she explains. In the alpha or theta range, brain wave frequencies are lower, reflecting a calmer state of mind.

While she admits that the computer system and the science on which it is based have not been embraced by mainstream science, Kaul has found the system to be a powerful tool in helping her relax and move swiftly into a focused mental state. She believes that using the system helps her develop greater control over her mind. “And the more you use it,” she says, “the more mental states you are able to switch between.”

But, for Kaul, the system is much more than a self-development tool; it is also an artistic medium. With the appropriate hardware, the system can convert brain wave frequencies into digital sound signals. She used this feature in a series of performances titled “That Brainwave Chick,” which she and music composer and professor Mark Applebaum, who now teaches at Stanford University, gave at various locations, including the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, in the late 1990s.

In each performance, the computer was connected to nontraditional musical instruments, and Kaul, wearing the headband, would sit quietly before the audience, allowing her brain waves to be processed through the instruments. At times, the sounds came in steady, ominous tones from the lower register of the musical scale. At other times, her brain wave frequencies produced light trills from the upper register. She varied the sound by moving between states of mind.

Applebaum would then respond to these sounds with instruments he had designed. Because music produces an emotional response in the listener, Kaul’s mind then responded to Applebaum’s music, creating a musical feedback loop between them. Their performance, she explains, was a kind of nonverbal communication. “It felt like he was inside my mind.” For the audience, their music blended to create a nontraditional, at times discordant, sound.

After taking a couple of graduate courses in music composition from Applebaum, Kaul began to experiment with improvisation herself. Hooked up to the IBVA system, she would improvise on her digital keyboard in response to the notes produced by her brain waves. She eventually produced a CD and music video called Streaming Consciousness, which has been featured by the Sonic Circuits International Festival of Electronic Music and Art. (See for more information.) She plans to give her first solo performance at a Beyond Cyberspace Conference in March at the San Jose (California) Convention Center. She also will perform at a Sonic Circuits VIII event in Washington, D.C., later this year.

While Kaul enjoys the creative outlet her music provides, she also enjoys knowing that she is raising the awareness of others that they can program their state of mind. According to Kaul, the more relaxed alpha and theta states of mind are more conducive to clear thinking and problem solving, but our culture exists in the more agitated beta state. “If we could convince our public to live more in an alpha state,” she says, “we would have a better problem-solving community.”
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Warren Bonesteel
post May 30, 2006, 08:57 AM
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the body is the soil of the mind

Welcome to the IBVA System!

"IBVA is a system created and refined through over 30 years of research. The IBVA provides intricate interactive control from brainwave activity. Put simply, the IBVA watches brainwave activity in real time and allows you to use them to trigger movies, music, home automation devices, images, sounds, other software, or almost any electronically addressable device through a local computer or from the internet."

"The IBVA inhales brainwaves but exhales a brain-computer interface. Your brainwaves can control everything from sounds that go ping to almost any electronically addressable device."

NOTE: Yes, they're a bit over the top, but take a look at their website. It's worth your time.
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post May 31, 2006, 09:57 AM
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IBVA is a neat idea but I suspect the device is too crude (since it's worn as a headband) to achieve desired levels of control.
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Warren Bonesteel
post May 31, 2006, 12:03 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ May 31, 11:57 AM) *

IBVA is a neat idea but I suspect the device is too crude (since it's worn as a headband) to achieve desired levels of control.

If you go to the website and look around a bit, you'll see that they can offer you up to one thousand feet of wireless freedom, in addition to other more mobile devices.

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Warren Bonesteel
post May 31, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Of course, there are other things going on in that and relate fields, too...but at this time, all of them require an interface device of some sort.
Imagine a world where microscopic medical implants patrol our arteries, diagnosing ailments and fighting disease; where military battle-suits deflect explosions; where computer chips are no bigger than specks of dust; and where clouds of miniature space probes transmit data from the atmospheres of Mars or Titan.

Many incredible claims have been made about the future's nanotechnological applications, but what exactly does nano mean, and why has controversy plagued this emerging technology?

Nanotechnology is science and engineering at the scale of atoms and molecules. It is the manipulation and use of materials and devices so tiny that nothing can be built any smaller.
BERKELEY – Only 15 years after University of California, Berkeley, engineers built the first micro-scale motor, a UC Berkeley physicist has created the first nano-scale motor - a gold rotor on a nanotube shaft that could ride on the back of a virus.
"It's the smallest synthetic motor that's ever been made," said Alex Zettl, professor of physics at UC Berkeley and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Nature is still a little bit ahead of us - there are biological motors that are equal or slightly smaller in size - but we are catching up."
The first transistors to be fashioned from a single "buckyball" -- a molecule of carbon-60 -- have been reported by scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley.
He works in a world of tiny spheres and tubes, building nanoscale “Russian dolls” and “peapods” by blasting metal atoms into the middle of hollow carbon molecules known as buckyballs.
The result is a new family of molecules, endohedral metalofullerenes (EMFs — buckyballs filled with metal atoms), which Dorn, a chemistry professor, and his Virginia Tech colleagues are able to create with reliable constancy and in quantities generous enough to share with researchers worldwide. Virginia Tech is the leading institution in the world for the controlled production and purification of EMFs.

Google carbon buckyballs.

Which will be used here:

Cheaper, faster, and more stuff into space. Which, btw, might be a damned good longterm investment. Don't expect a return for some twenty years or longer....but when you do get a return on your investment, look me up. Will ya? (Remember, when it comes to new tech, the business always follows.)

Now, from what I can tell, Buckminster Fullerenes seem to have a lot of applications, from medical and disease prevention and cure, to industry to communications and computer tech, just to start with. The possibilities seem to be almost endless.

Imagine, if you will, that Honda rebuilds their robot using Buckminster Fullerenes as based upon tech discovered by Richard Smalley
Imagine an exoskeleton built using this technology? From bulky suits designed according to the best of the latter part of the industrial age to lightweight, stronger, smarter suits with the computer and interface(s) as an integral part of each of the components. When the technology is fully incorporated and fully assembled, this stuff would be stronger than steel and almost as lightweight as plastic. You see, there are other ways to use leverage than by using hydraulic, pneumatic and electric actuators.

Of course, some people are doing the Frankenstein thing with it, too:

Like I said, the possibilities are almost endless. If you can find someone to put together a nano-tech "mutual fund," and if you put a few thousand into it and just let it ride, if you're careful, you just might be peasantly surprised in a few years.

This is all just the beginning of what can be found about this 'nano' technology. It's already in use in almost every industry imaginable. From clohes that never stain to the television that you watch and the computers that you use, it's everywhere. ...and the nano-tech industry is still in its infancy... The possible applications have yet to be imagined.

Remember magnetic DNA? Well...this kinda ties in with that.

First, some proof that they are making things pretty small these days...

First molecular-machine combination revealed
• 18:30 22 March 2006
• news service
• Stu Hutson )

Now...on with the show.
Abstract—We have designed, fabricated, and characterized a microminiaturized “neuroport” for brain implantable neuroprosthesis applications, using an analog CMOS integrated circuit and a silicon based microelectrode array. An ultra-low power, low-noise CMOS preamplifier array with integral multiplexing was designed to accommodate stringent thermal and electrophysiological requirements for implantation in the brain, and a hybrid integration approach was developed to fabricate a functional microminiaturized neuroprobe device. Measurements showed that our fully scalable 16-channel CMOS amplifier chip had an average gain of 44 dB, bandwidth from 10 Hz to 7.3 kHz, and an equivalent input noise of approximately 9 Vrms with an average power consumption per preamplifier of 52 W, which is consistent with simulation results. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, we have nmeasured local field potentials from thalamocortical brain slices of rats, showing oscillatory behavior with an amplitude about 0.5mV and a period ranging 80–120 ms. The results suggest that the hybrid integrated neuroport can form a prime platform for the development of a next level microminiaturized neural interface to the brain in a single implantable unit. Index Terms—Brain computer interface, integrated neural probe array, low-noise preamplifier, neuroprosthesis.

THERE have been striking advances in the past two years in the development of recording techniques that have enabled the extraction of signals from the living brain to control rudimentary robotic devices [1], [2]. The approach involves intracortical sensors in the form of microelectrode arrays that are placed very near neuron cell bodies. For example, the development of such a brain-machine recording interface for the motor cortex (MI) has enabled the laboratory demonstration of “thoughts-to-action” observations in macaque monkeys [1]. It
now appears likely that comparable recording access will be applied to the living human brain in the near future, propelled in part by the need to develop a practical neuroprosthetic interface for paralyzed patients.

How to use your brain in order to power computer programs

You can buy the software and the interface devices...
StartleCam is a wearable video camera, computer, and
sensing system, which enables the camera to be controlled
via both conscious and preconscious events involving the
wearer. Traditionally, a wearer consciously hits record on
the video camera, or runs a computer script to trigger the
camera according to some pre-specified frequency. The system
described here offers an additional option: images are
saved by the system when it detects certain events of supposed
interest to the wearer. The implementation described
here aims to capture events that are likely to get the user’s
attention and to be remembered. Attention and memory
are highly correlated with what psychologists call arousal
level, and the latter is often signaled by skin conductivity
changes; consequently, StartleCam monitors the wearer’s
skin conductivity. StartleCam looks for patterns indicative
of a “startle response” in the skin conductivity signal. When
this response is detected, a buffer of digital images, recently
captured by the wearer’s digital camera, is downloaded and
optionally transmitted wirelessly to a webserver. This selective
storage of digital images creates a “flashbulb”memory
archive for the wearable which aims to mimic the wearer’
Using a startle detection filter, the StartleCam system has
been demonstrated to work on several wearers in both indoor
and outdoor ambulatory environments.

and one method of how to power such a device... I can think of several...

DOI Bookmark:

As the power requirements for microelectronics continue decreasing, environmental energy sources can begin to replace batteries in certain wearable subsystems. In this spirit, this paper examines three different devices that can be built into a shoe, (where excess energy is readily harvested) and used for generating electrical power "parasitically" while walking. Two of these are piezoelectric in nature: a unimorph strip made from piezoceramic composite material and a stave made from a multilayer laminate of PVDF foil. The third is a shoe-mounted rotary magnetic generator. Test results are given for these systems, their relative merits and compromises are discussed, and suggestions are proposed for improvements and potential applications in wearable systems. As a self-powered application example, a system had been built around the piezoelectric shoes that periodically broadcasts a digital RFID as the bearer walks.

Back to Top Additional Information
Index Terms- Human-powered systems, power scavenging, parasitic power, energy harvesting, self-powered, piezoelectrics, PVDF, Thunder, RFID systems

Citation: John Kymissis, Clyde Kendall, Joseph Paradiso, Neil Gershenfeld. "Parasitic Power Harvesting in Shoes," iswc, p. 132, Second International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC'98), 1998.

also keep in mind that some wristwatches are powered by the wearer's own movements...
• Self-winding automatic movement never needs batteries
• Graceful gold plated case is presented on the highly stylized triple link bracelet in satin finished steel
• Skeleton crystal caseback lets you see the intricate mechanical movement inside
• Unidirectional rotating steel plated bezel has a black enamel surface with screened markers
• Black dial with luminous hands and hour markers
• A magnified date window at the 3 o'clock hour reveals the automatic date calendar
• Screw-in crown and caseback for water resistance
• Bracelet has a double locking clasp for added security
• Case is 28mm in diameter and 12mm thick
Solid stainless steel band

and others use your own body heat...
A Japanese watch manufacturer has come out with a new wristwatch that generates its own power by utilizing the difference between ambient and body temperatures. The watch, which went on sale in late 1998, is fairly expensive, since it is a new technology. Even so, the manufacturer boasts confidently that "this is the first step toward realizing the technology's full potential. The real significance here is that we've created a commercial product that uses this new technology

and of course, there's the commonly advertised self-powered flashlight.

• Self-powered: Neither batteries nor bulbs needed
• Waterproof & Weatherproof. It even floats.
• Portable and Durable: built to last
• Superbright Blue LED: visible for over a mile.
• Entirely maintenance free with a full one year warranty
• Reliable flashlight for auto, home, cottage, camping, power outages, emergencies . .

Self-powered anti-espionage scramblers...
To safeguard phone conversations, Delcon Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., makes a self-powered scrambler that the user holds over the mouthpiece. The person at the other end of the wire must have an identically coded scrambler to understand the garbled speech. Price is $550 a pair.

There are even self-powered speakers for your JBL sound system...

and an idea of how small some of these things can be that are already in the "public" purview.

and of course, transmitters...

The "interface" devices are about as thick as a human hair...about half an inch to an inch long and about 1/8 inch wide...

The SIL style TX3A measures 32 x 12 x 3.8 mm excluding pins.

A bit over an inch long, it'd look like a thin, flat piece of wire or metal...

biologists are using similarly-sized devices to track small insects...
and moths...

and more about the human brain/computer interface...
Mr Nagle's device, called BrainGate, consists of nearly 100 hair-thin electrodes implanted a millimetre deep into part of the motor cortex of his brain that controls movement.
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Warren Bonesteel
post May 31, 2006, 12:18 PM
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And this one rather changes the meaning of the term, "plugged in."

Remote control brain
By Daniel Dasey
November 28, 2004
The Sun-Herald

In the not too distant future a man is working in the backyard of his home when there's a knock at the front door.

He's busy, but expecting a friend, so he begins scrolling through a menu in his mind, looking for a command to open the door.

A moment of concentration, an electronic surge, and "click", his friend walks in. A mind-controlled home may sound like a scene straight out of science fiction, but it's an idea on which researchers in the US and Australia are making progress.

Reports last week suggested that an American research team had tested a surgically implanted brain-computer interface, or BrainGate, in a human subject.

It is hoped the device, the size of a small aspirin, will ultimately allow disabled people to operate complex machinery using their thoughts.

Meanwhile, in Australia, scientists have had considerable success with the Mind Switch, a non-surgical device that uses brain waves to operate switches.

Professor Ashley Craig, a neuroscientist at the University of Technology, Sydney, who helped develop the Mind Switch, said society could make increasingly sophisticated use of mind control in the future.

"Children could grow up with it and they have such wonderful alpha wave activity in their brains," he said. "They could learn to use it as well as their hands."

Reports suggest that the BrainGate project, funded by American company Cyberkinetics, has implanted a brain-computer interface in a 25-year-old quadriplegic.

The device has reportedly allowed the man to switch on lights, change channels on television and read email using only his brain.

The man has also been able to play the computer game Pong and to carry out the tasks while talking.

The trial grew from a series of successful studies on monkeys who were able to use their brains to play simple video games in exchange for food rewards.

Other studies on monkeys showed they could feed themselves with a robotic arm by using signals from their brains.

Australia's Mind Switch is a non-intrusive cap worn on the head.

It exploits the fact that when humans close their eyes there is a significant increase in alpha wave signals at the rear of the brain.

A user wanting to activate a switch closes his eyes deliberately to increase this alpha wave activity. The signals are picked up by the cap and in turn operate the switch.

The same process can be used to perform more complex tasks such as selecting a television channel or adjusting the volume.

Craig said that as well as helping the disabled, thought-control devices could have numerous applications for the able-bodied around the home.

The technology could also have military applications including helping pilots to work the sophisticated controls and weapons systems in jet fighters.
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post May 31, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1979)

John Bluck
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
(Phone: 650/604-5026)

March 17, 2004
RELEASE: 04-093

NASA Develops System To Computerize Silent, "Subvocal Speech"

NASA scientists have begun to computerize human, silent reading using nerve signals in the throat that control speech.

In preliminary experiments, NASA scientists found that small, button-sized sensors, stuck under the chin and on either side of the "Adam's apple," could gather nerve signals, and send them to a processor and then to a computer program that translates them into words. Eventually, such "subvocal speech" systems could be used in spacesuits, in noisy places like airport towers to capture air-traffic controller commands, or even in traditional voice-recognition programs to increase accuracy, according to NASA scientists.

"What is analyzed is silent, or subauditory, speech, such as when a person silently reads or talks to himself," said Chuck Jorgensen, a scientist whose team is developing silent, subvocal speech recognition at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "Biological signals arise when reading or speaking to oneself with or without actual lip or facial movement," Jorgensen explained.

"A person using the subvocal system thinks of phrases and talks to himself so quietly, it cannot be heard, but the tongue and vocal chords do receive speech signals from the brain," Jorgensen said.

In their first experiment, scientists "trained" special software to recognize six words and 10 digits that the researchers repeated subvocally. Initial word recognition results were an average of 92 percent accurate. The first sub-vocal words the system "learned" were "stop," "go," "left," "right," "alpha" and "omega," and the digits "zero" through "nine." Silently speaking these words, scientists conducted simple searches on the Internet by using a number chart representing the alphabet to control a Web browser program.

"We took the alphabet and put it into a matrix -- like a calendar. We numbered the columns and rows, and we could identify each letter with a pair of single-digit numbers," Jorgensen said. "So we silently spelled out 'NASA' and then submitted it to a well-known Web search engine. We electronically numbered the Web pages that came up as search results. We used the numbers again to choose Web pages to examine. This proved we could browse the Web without touching a keyboard," Jorgensen explained.

Scientists are testing new, "noncontact" sensors that can read muscle signals even through a layer of clothing.

A second demonstration will be to control a mechanical device using a simple set of commands, according to Jorgensen. His team is planning tests with a simulated Mars rover. "We can have the model rover go left or right using silently 'spoken' words," Jorgensen said. People in noisy conditions could use the system when privacy is needed, such as during telephone conversations on buses or trains, according to scientists.

"An expanded muscle-control system could help injured astronauts control machines. If an astronaut is suffering from muscle weakness due to a long stint in microgravity, the astronaut could send signals to software that would assist with landings on Mars or the Earth, for example," Jorgensen explained. "A logical spin-off would be that handicapped persons could use this system for a lot of things."

To learn more about what is in the patterns of the nerve signals that control vocal chords, muscles and tongue position, Ames scientists are studying the complex nerve-signal patterns. "We use an amplifier to strengthen the electrical nerve signals. These are processed to remove noise, and then we process them to see useful parts of the signals to show one word from another," Jorgensen said.

After the signals are amplified, computer software "reads" the signals to recognize each word and sound. "The keys to this system are the sensors, the signal processing and the pattern recognition, and that's where the scientific meat of what we're doing resides," Jorgensen explained. "We will continue to expand the vocabulary with sets of English sounds, usable by a full speech-recognition computer program."

The Computing, Information and Communications Technology Program, part of NASA's Office of Exploration Systems, funds the subvocal word-recognition research. There is a patent pending for the new technology.

Publication-size images are available on the World Wide Web at:


So, whether you're wearing a headband or other type of headgear - or "wearing" chips in your clothing - or even having nano-wires and micro-chips implanted in your brain, an interface device still seems to be required at this point. I understand that some researchers are trying to work around that problem. Of course, it all depends on your personal definition of crude. ;O) Personally, having wires and micro-chips implanted in my brain seems a bit crude. At present, even the simplest of brain surgeries involves inherent dangers and often results some degree of change in the patient's personality.
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post May 31, 2006, 12:48 PM
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QUOTE(Guest @ May 31, 01:37 PM) *
an interface device still seems to be required at this point. I understand that some researchers are trying to work around that problem. Of course, it all depends on your personal definition of crude. ;O) Personally, having wires and micro-chips implanted in my brain seems a bit crude. At present, even the simplest of brain surgeries involves inherent dangers and often results some degree of change in the patient's personality.

exactly. Maybe using your hand as interface to manually manipulate a remote control is going to be the best option for a few years until the real issues around the interface problem are solved.
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Warren Bonesteel
post Jun 01, 2006, 10:21 AM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ May 31, 02:48 PM) *

QUOTE(Guest @ May 31, 01:37 PM) *
an interface device still seems to be required at this point. I understand that some researchers are trying to work around that problem. Of course, it all depends on your personal definition of crude. ;O) Personally, having wires and micro-chips implanted in my brain seems a bit crude. At present, even the simplest of brain surgeries involves inherent dangers and often results some degree of change in the patient's personality.

exactly. Maybe using your hand as interface to manually manipulate a remote control is going to be the best option for a few years until the real issues around the interface problem are solved.

I certainly agree. Things are moving so danged fast, though... ;O)
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