Did you ever want to write a melody using your mind? Now it is possible. Thanks to the brain-computer interface (BCI) device and researchers from Austria a lot of people with limited physical abilities can compose music with their thoughts.
The researchers from the Graz University of Technology and the University of Graz in Austria improved the device that simulates brain impulses. In fact, they accomplished the “P300 event-related potential,” the electrical brain signal, to make the device work. Interestingly, professional musicians already approved it and achieved excellent results when using the program.
BCI would be easy to use, and the primary goal is to help physically disabled people. This technology differs from the other interfaces that let you play music with your thoughts. For example, it could be used to select a specific type of musical note — a whole note or quarter note, to write a musical score.
The P300 event-related potential makes the BCI work so accurate. The signal, which is associated with focusing attention, can be detected by a type of non-invasive headgear fitted with electrodes called an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap. It sends these signals to an amplifier, which allows a computer to read the user’s brainwaves. Here is an example:
During the experiment, nonprofessional and professional musicians learned how to use the BCI, and they were given tasks: copy-spelling words, copy-composing a melody, and then composing their melody. Nonprofessionals completed the copy-spelling task with 88.2 percent accuracy, while a professional composer achieved 100 percent accuracy. The team’s experiments proved that a P300-based BCI device works for composing the music.
“The results of the BCI compositions can be heard. And what is more important: the test persons enjoyed it. After a short training session, all of them could start composing and seeing their melodies on the score and then play them. The very positive results of the study with bodily healthy test persons are the first step in a possible expansion of the BCI composition to patients,” – stated Müller-Putz, head of the Institute of Neural Engineering at the Graz University of Technology in Austria.
The fact that the users composed their own melodies prove that the experiment was successful.
Here is a short interesting film that demonstrates the creating of a music track using the mind: