Using the power of the brain has long been a science fiction staple. Eduardo Miranda, composer and computer-music teacher, has created a system where someone can play music with their mind. The brain-computer interface tracks and picks up neural impulses from your brains and translates them into musical notes. The type of technology is not entirely new as other types of brain-computer interfaces let people control prosthetic limbs and even type on a computer with their thoughts.
To use the system you have to don an EEG skull cap and concentrate on four “buttons” on a screen. When a user focuses on a button, their brain fires of a unique series of impulses specific to each button and those impulses are captured by the skull cap. A series of notes is played for each respective button. Since this type of interface is not intrinsically known, calibration is needed for each user. It takes a user with locked-in syndrome, a paralysis of the entire body except the eyes, about two hours to calibrate the system during trials at the University of Essex.
Miranda came up with the idea of using brain waves to make music over ten years ago and now its getting closer to fruition. He realized that this type of device would have a large impact in music therapy. He is hoping to develop and refine the system so that it doesn’t take so long to calibrate. In the future the device will use algorithms to predict which notes the user wants to play.