This C.H.I.P.-powered Art Project Can Read Your Mind

Inhibition, a C.H.I.P.-powered electroencephalogram (EEG) headset, is the latest work of Marinos Koutsomichalis, a creative technologist and scholar interested in the interplay between humans and machines.

Commissioned by Onassis Cultural Centre and Ars Electronica for the Hybrids group exhibition, the piece is on display in the Athens, Greece through the end of January 2017.

EEG is traditionally known as a medical test for the human brain that’s been around since the 1920s. Electrodes are placed on the head to monitor and record voltage fluctuations between neurons in the brain. Doctors use this data to help diagnose abnormalities in brain functioning that could suggest preconditions for epileptic seizures or indicate the patient has sustained a head trauma. It’s a medical technology that reveals fundamental brain health, but recently there is a crop of new applications for EEG, such as Inhibition .

Inhibition is an artistic application of EEG, which records brain waves and relays the data to C.H.I.P. for processing. Worn just like a regular pair of studio headphones, Inhibition adds four boom arms each adorned with small electrodes, a C.H.I.P., and custom EEG DIP into the mix. That’s a whole ton of awesome extras to add to any project, let alone headphones.

Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, GR 2016 (c) Andreas Simopoulos

Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, GR 2016 (c) Andreas Simopoulos

Koutsomichalis uses C.H.I.P. to run machine learning and Super Collider, a powerful audio processing tool, to analyze the EEG DIP data and generate custom sound that’s intended to prevent the wearer from concentrating. The goal here isn’t only the distraction, but a type of real-time, personalized distraction that is only possible by monitoring brain waves and adapting customized audio on-the-fly.

And for Koutsomichalis personalization is what matters. Each tailored state of distraction, which he calls “meta-cognition,” is a blurring between the individual and the machine, with neither working harmoniously together.

It’s difficult to know exactly how to describe the experience without wearing , but you don’t have to travel to Athens to try it out. Inhibition is completely open source and is well documented. Koutsomichalis wants anyone who is interested in the project to build their own version and Koutsomichalis is preparing to present a number of workshops around the world featuring Inhibition.


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Now that an EEG DIP exists for C.H.I.P., how do you plan to use it in your projects? A mind-controlled robot, a desktop wallpaper selector based on your mood, tell us your plan in the comments below. And don’t forget to share project photo on Twitter and join the discussion in the forum. We can’t wait to see what you’re making!

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2 Comments

I need a headset that could read mine nura brain and write them on network. Also scan barcode on a nura chip. Identified manufacture or name brand. If a chip was inserted in a human without consent.

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