Archive for July, 2007

DIY: Home-made light and sound devices, and also home-made TMS (magnetic stimulation)

With the rising popularity of brainwave entrainment, it is not surprising that Do-It-Yourself-ers are taking on the challenge of creating Light and Sound devices on the cheap.

Last week a user on our forum sent us a link to his outstandanding tutorial on how to create an AudioStrobe decoder in a box of Altoids.

Altoids brand AudioStrobe Decoder!

You can find the steps for building this device, here.

Make Magazine has also taken on the challenge of creating a stand-alone light/sound machine. View the video below:

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DIY Magnetic Stimulation

Another recent bit of DIY from our forum involves “magnetic entrainment”, or what could be called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It was found that the magnetic coils used in some entrainment devices are really just a simple telephone pickup device which you can find here.

It responds to sound, so technically speaking our software should already be completely compatible with it. Just create a tone track, set the rate to zero and the pitch to whatever frequency you would like to stimulate your brain with.

I have bought a few of these and hope to do some experimentation when I find the time. However, a word of caution: Magnetic entrainment can be extremely powerful. Be sure you know what you are getting into before DIYing this.

EEG-Generated 3D artwork under hypnosis

There is something irresistible about the brain’s electrical activity that continues to inspire new researchers to bridge the gap between science and art, or between medical research and entertainment.

The idea has been explored for decades. A few months ago, browsing around YouTube, I found a video of Yoko Ono and John Lennon experimenting with EEG-assisted music creation on some talk show (I was not able to locate this video later, unfortunately). We’ve explored this topic here a number of times before, such as in this entry where EEG is used to compose music, create images, control games and robots.

As old as this type of research is, the allure of pure thought flowing into a form of art remains as attractive as ever to new researchers. And, the technology behind it continues to advance.

Perhaps in the future there will be a way for an audience to experience such artwork in the same technologically advanced way in which it was created.

Here is the latest installment into the category of brainwave-art.

It is called “Shapes of Thought”.

Participants are put into a hypnotic state and asked to recall various memories in order to create pure emotional states. The hypnotic state is induced to make the recollection both easier and more realistic.

EEG activity is then recorded and filtered to create unique 3D shapes. Here is an example:

This image was formed after asking a participant to recall a traumatic incident where he was seriously injured.

You can find more on their website, here: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~einbrain/shapes/index.html

Blogging, and new upcoming software

Mind WorkStation in action!If you haven’t noticed, blog posts have been a bit sparse lately. That is because I have been working fervently to get our latest application, “Mind WorkStation”, into beta testing. The last month has been very busy doing that. And, I expect the next few months will be busy fixing bugs, adding new features, incorporating user feedback, etc. But, I will try to keep up on the blog as often as possible.

Mind WorkStation is turning out better than I could have hoped. I’ve been working on it for nearly 2 years now. Even while Mind Stereo was being developed I was simultaneously developing this application. Needless to say, it is by far the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m really proud of the results.

If you are current customer and are interested in participating in the beta testing process, sign up here: http://www.transparentcorp.com/betatesting/signup.php

Men think using gray matter, women with white

If you keep up on the news, you may have seen a lot of talk recently about new research that calls into question the common assumption that women talk more than men. It turns out, men talk about the same amount, or 16000 words a day. Here is a link to an article about it. Actually, men did talk less than women by around 500 words a day, but that was statistically insignificant.

In light of this, it is interesting to explore the differences between the way the two sexes think, and to analyze whether it could have any effect on language.

One such study found that men think more with what is called “Gray Matter”, while women use more “White Matter”. Men have 6.5 times more gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have almost 10 times more white matter related to intelligence.

Gray matter refers to nerve cell bodies, while white matter refers to the axons that transmit nerve cell messages. You could think of gray matter a bunch of little computers, and white matter as the internet.

The interesting part is that this fact doesn’t significantly affect cognitive performance. Men and women both perform equally well on a large variety of cognitive tests, although the neural methods used to reach the same correct answer may be different. Neural processing in men is more localized, while in women it is distributed, integrating information from many different areas.

“These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior,” said Richard Haier, professor of psychology in the Department of Pediatrics and longtime human intelligence researcher, who led the study with colleagues at UCI and the University of New Mexico.

However, this could help explain why certain fields are preferred by either sex. The localized processing favored by the male mind is ideally suited to mathematical processing, while the distributed computing of the female mind is ideally suited to – you guessed it – highly developed language skills.

Here is an article on the topic: http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1261