A brain-computer interface (BCI) that plays music based on the mental state of the user is the focus of a new four-year project by researchers at the universities of Reading and Plymouth.
"When we perform some cognitive functions our brain generates lots of electrical activity, which can be recognized as fluctuations of tiny electrical potentials using non-invasive techniques," says Reading University's Slawomir Nasuto. "If you can record these fluctuations and recognize what kind of activity is going on, a control command for a computer ... could be provided."
The researchers say the BCI will be unique in that the user will not have complete control over how the system responds, and it will recognize the mental state of the user and provide the right stimulus. An electroencephalograph will be used to transfer the electrical signal from the user's scalp via a series of wires to an amplifier box, which will be connected to a computer. The team will use software to identify rules governing musical patterns that produce certain emotions, and embed the rules into the BCI system to generate the music, says Plymouth University professor Eduardo Miranda.
The BCI system could serve as a therapeutic aid in treating depression.
From The Engineer (United Kingdom)
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