Longtime Backyard Brains fans may recognize Pablo Guerra in the majority of our human interface videos. When not acting for Backyard Brains, Pablo Works as Electronic Music Artist, specifically, modifying electronic music instruments in a discipline called “Circuit Bending.”
Circuit bending or also called “toy hacking” is the art of corrupting a musical toy from your childhood by opening it up and connecting a “jumper” wire to any two circuit locations until you find when the toy emits a strange sound. Finding new sounds is like a treasure hunt, and it doesn’t need any prior experience with electronics: you make different paths with the wire until you find one that changes the music. Once you find a path that makes a weird noise, you can connect it to a potentiometer allowing modulation of the noise effect.
While Previous Art Projects have existed that convert EEG to Music (and Backyard Brains has this feature as well), Pablo was interested in making a direct interface between his musical instruments using the strength of the EEG alpha wave power to control a100 kilohm digital potentiometer.
The pin out is
1- Arduino Digital Out 10
2- Arduino Digital Out 13
3- Arduino Digital Out 11
4,5 – Ground
7,8 – +5V on the Arduino
See the video of our first working prototype in action!
Thanks especially goes to BYB Developer Stanislav Mircic for developing the serial interface code that enables communication between our Heart and Brain SpikerShield, Spike Recorder, and the MCP41100 digital potentiometer
When Pablo Closes his eyes, alpha power increases, which causes the digital potentiometer to drop from95 kilohms to 70 kilohms. This then modulates a sound generation circuit in Pablo’s Musical Instrument
If you would like to build this, you must
- Remove LEDs 3,4, and 6 from the Heart and Brain SpikerShield (two yellow LEDs, and last red LED). This is because we are using those pins now to talk to the Digital Potentiometer.
- Upload this new code to your Arduino that allows the SpikeRecorder software to talk to the Digital Potential
- Run our new SpikeRecorder Software Prototype
This is an active research project, so let us know if you have any questions or ideas.