A question for serious engineers..create music with thoughts

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EricK
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A question for serious engineers..create music with thoughts

Post by EricK » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:32 pm

While doing research for an english paper on the history of Prosthetics, i came across an article about the latest developments wherein a monkey with a transmitter inplanted in its brain could control a robotic arm by thinking about it.

This research is primarily geared towards restoring the function of someone who lost a limb or the use of their limbs through a Brain-Computer interface.

THe transmitter is a pushpin like device inplanted in the cerebral cortex of the brain which receives and amplifies the motor impulses normally used to move your arms or legs.

THe signal is sent to a computer where the math is done and then sent to a robotic arm that the monkeys were using to control a video game.

The monkeys used a joystick to play the game and the impulses were sent to a second joystick controlled by a robotic arm when the monkeys learned that they didn't have to use their normal arms....they began controling the game with their thoughts.


THis is not fiction.



Now my question is....how possible would it be to convert the impulses generated by motor neurons in the brain and convert them to a control voltage or a midi signal that coudl be used to control the pitch of a synth or a midi capable device.

FOr example, thinking of moving your arm to the right woudl increase the pitch of an oscilator..to the left to decrease. Thinking of twiddling your fingers would create trills on "keys".

How about something like this for the next Moog controller?

Im down for an implant!

Seriously,
EricK
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ColorForm2113
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Post by ColorForm2113 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:42 am

:shock: imagine all the possibilities... turn knobs with out having to take your hands off the keys....play as many keyboards that you can think of at once...sync all your lfo's, beats and what-nots just by counting in your head...

where can i sign up!

EricK
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Post by EricK » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:19 pm

hehe I don't know if its quite like that. It might be that we would have to have a different way of "thinking" about how we would play the instrument.

WHen you move your arm, a part of your brain moves. A doctor can move that part of your brain during surgery and your arm would kick up in just the same way. I don't think that there would be an impulse that would specifically say "Play an E" or something that would say, "change tempo", it could very well have the same type of motor limitations like you can't generally write 2 different words with both hands or you can't use the exact same amount of strength in both arms at the same time.
It woudl probably still have some limitations....but with good software im sure that could change.

But this isn't fantasy stuff there folks. I really have a tendancy to believe that this is very possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_Mach ... _successes


ImageDiagram of the BCI developed by Miguel Nicolelis and collegues for use on Rhesus monkeys

Erick
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Kevin Lightner
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Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:53 pm

No slam, but like any other method of control, it's still the human that must practice their technique.

For example, your brain already controls your fingers and hears sounds coming in from your ears.
But can you play whatever you can think of?
Can you play whatever you hear?
Probably not, or at least it would take some practice to get proficient.
Same here.
You'd have to train yourself quite a bit for it to do what you wanted.

I also think the market for this would be incredibly small since surgery is necessary.
No insurance would ever pay for something like this, so you're talking 10's of thousands of dollars in order to basically get a new interface you're not skilled at playing yet.

Great idea in theory though.

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Lengai
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Post by Lengai » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:22 pm

I saw a similar set up that didn't use surgery. The iventor hooked up probes and steered a sail boat by moving a dot on a screen with his mind. The steering wheel would turn when he made the dot go up or down...pretty cool. He wanted to develop it for fighter pilots.

EricK
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Post by EricK » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:29 am

I think they have it now where some sort of headgear will enable some experimental pilots to go exclusively hands free.

I wish i could play what I hear though.

No it would still require ear training and im going to assume that it woudl still involve some sort of motor impulse to achieve this level of control so its not exactly like playing exactly what you hear, you still have to know the instrument, still have to practice though this method of practice would be much different.

It woudln't necessarily be muscle memory persay like it is when playing certian patterns.

Now what I read is that the brain does not distinguish the difference between the robotis arm and the real ones.

Sometimes our mistakes come from a lack of coordination, cold fingers sweaty palms. Of corse this is all theoretical but this technology would alleviate that. (It would just be different mistakes)


The professor that I emailed who is leading the research has yet to email me back lolol. Im sure my yahoo email got routed to his junk folder.

Its just interesting stuff that I thought Id share with you guys just to inspire a little imagination. I think its very very possible though.



If you put Moog on it, ill likely sign right up. :D
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ColorForm2113
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Post by ColorForm2113 » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:01 am

oooh....thats kinda disappointing then. still a cool theory though. but since both my arms are curently attached and functioning well, i think im going to take my name off that list. i dont feel like training robots right now.

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ikazlar
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Post by ikazlar » Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:20 am

You need to check some of the experimental music of Alvin Lucier. Years ago he composed a track with something like alpha-signals, if I remember properly. All you need is some electrodes on your body.. :D

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