A way to use brain waves to control lights at a concert has been developed by a neuroscientist. Wearing a special cap equipped with electrodes that read brain waves, stage lighting and effects can be changed with thought alone by a musician while he or she plays for an audience.
The brain wave cap was developed by University of California neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. According to CBS News, Hart has even taken the new piece of equipment on tour with him recently. The unusual partnership came from a shared interest in exploring innovative ways to fend off mental decline or injury.
Gazzaley recently showed that the effects of aging on mental abilities can be reversed by playing video games.
Hart’s own interest in the area came after watching his grandmother struggle with Alzheimer’s disease in the 1980s. When he played his drums for her, Hart says he saw her become more responsive. This inspired the drummer to develop the nonprofit Rhythm for Life, which encourages musical activity among the elderly.
This interest led to a cooperation between Hart and Gazzaley and the EEG cap which allows brain waves to control light systems. According to CTV News, Hart first debuted the new cap last year at an AARP convention. Hart recalls learning to use the cap, explaining how he directs the lights: “I try to entertain with it … then move it slightly, you know, turn it to the right, turn it to the left.”
Though this innovation may have only entertainment value at this point, the two believe it is the first step toward bigger things. This could lead to sophisticated new ways to read brain activity in real-time, and could prove to be a huge benefit for future studies. If nothing else, the ability for brain waves to control lights may be a glimpse into the future of neuroscience.
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