Music is a passion, an art, a science, but maybe most importantly… music is fun! Variations of “electronic instruments” can be traced back as early as the late 1700s, but it is no exaggeration to say that the biggest breakthrough was the invention of Synthesizers in the 1950s. This marriage of music and electrical engineering undoubtedly has inspired and continues to inspire people to learn more about both the science of electricity and music.
Our newest trilogy of experiments is designed to get any student or hobbyist experimenting and developing with a new kind of musical interface…. a Brain-Music Interface! Electrical signals from your brain and your muscles will become the music you hear. Check out the experiments below!
Making Music with a Muscle
This lab is an excellent introduction to Arduino Programming and to Modifying Pre-Written Code. You and your students will begin by uploading new code to the Muscle SpikerShield, then we’ll show you just how to modify it so you can play your own musical creations!
Use the Muscle SpikerShield Pro to control up to six independent outputs. In this case, it will be musical tones. Time to generate music by moving your body. Your dancing makes the melody and the beat!
Then experiment and change the notes and tones your muscles will generate.
The prophecy is fulfilled, and you will become the music and the movement! Control a real musical instrument with your muscles via the MIDI interface. Now you can interface your own nervous system with real electronic instruments! Invent new styles and forms of music!
See it featured on the Chilean show El Hormiguero where guest Antonio Banderas gets to see how its done!
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.
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
The EMG Reaction Timer will settle once and for all who has the fastest draw in the west… or you can use it to perform neuroscience experiments, in the home or classroom, exploring how we respond to different kinds of stimuli! The Reaction Timer works with our EMG SpikerBox and Spike Recording Apps to give you the most precise measurement of how quickly you can react to a stimulus! There’s no buttons to press or rulers to catch, which can create a minor amount of lag, you just have to FLEX in response to the cue! (more…)