Sonified Electroencephalograms (EEG)
Creating aural interfaces of brainwaves to aid meditation

A collaboration with Ana Maiques (CEO, Neuroelectrics, Cambridge, MA company that builds Electroencephalogram (EEG) devices and an experimental musician from Providence, RI. 

 

Studied the usage of the device and the theory about brain activity from the technical experts at Neuroelectrics and doctors and scientists from Lifespan hospital, Brown University. After some iterations, the use of EEG for meditation was explored. The brain waves were translated in the form of sound. I, then, brought in an experimental musician on the team translate the frequency ranges for acoustic comfort. We used PureData (Audio programming software) to interface with the device.

The device reads the brainwaves in real time and translates the most dominant frequency range into sound which is played through the headphones.

 

The user would use the device while meditating. As they go into the meditative state, lower frequency ranges become more dominant in the brain (Alpha then Theta and Delta). The frequency of the sound corresponds to that of the brain waves. Using the sound as a feedback they would be able to retain the meditative state.

The audio files below represent the brain waves translated into audible frequencies. The brainwave data belongs to a participant collected while testing.

Theta waves

Delta waves 

The audio files require special headphones/monitors capable of producing low frequencies.

Process

Observation and testing of the technology

1/5
Speculation

The feel of the sounds is highly based on the geometric construction of their waves illustrated in the audio files below. Can the sounds of the brainwaves represent 'the feel of the thought' present in the mind and can it reflect in the mood of the person in real time? Just the way the construction of a musical instrument determines the timbre of the sound do our thoughts have a timbre? - A timbre that represents the nature of thoughts.

WARNING: The sounds may cause inconvenience please turn down the volume to avoid discomfort

Square

Wave

Sine

Wave

Sawtooth

Wave

The Team

Client:

Ana Maiques (CEO, Neuroelectrics)

 

Research Strategy Advisor:

Khipra Nichols (Professor, RISD)

Technical Advisor:

Peter Snyder (Neurology and Meditation) (Senior VP and Chief Research Officer at Lifespan Health System) 

Music Theory Consultant:

Antonio Forte (Experimental Musician)