22 March 2011

Music of Thought

The brain-computer interface allows disabled people to play music
CNews R&D based on Nature News: Music is all in the mindThe brain-computer interface allows paralyzed patients to play music using the power of thought.

There is evidence according to which listening to music and its independent performance have a positive effect on the condition of patients with diseases of the nervous system, including dementia and Parkinson's disease. However, patients who are unable to control muscle movements have so far been deprived of the opportunity to fully experience the healing effects of music.

Researchers at the University of Plymouth, UK, working under the guidance of composer and electronic music specialist Eduardo Miranda, have created a brain-computer interface that allows paralyzed people to play music quite successfully. They resorted to the traditional electroencephalography (EEG) technology for this field, based on the registration of weak nerve signals using electrodes placed on the patient's skull.

The main difficulty of working with this system is to train the user to associate special brain signals with certain tasks by repeating the same stimulus (sound, visual or tactile) and directing the user's attention to it. This allows you to receive a clear characteristic signal on the electroencephalogram. To create a melody, the user must use the power of thought to press the "buttons" displayed on the computer screen, each of which generates a certain set of sounds set in advance. At the same time, he can change the sound strength by changing the intensity of concentration of attention, which, according to the feedback principle, is manifested by changing the size of the mentally pressed button.

After a little training, users can not only play their favorite works, but also create their own melodies.

The developers tested the device with the participation of a woman in a state of pseudocoma – a form of almost complete paralysis caused by brain damage. During the 2-hour session, she mastered the system and learned how to play the melody being played. 


The developers note that today the maximum number of virtual buttons of the system is 4, but they plan to bring its appearance closer to a real musical instrument, for example, a piano keyboard, which, according to music therapists, should significantly increase the positive effect of playing music.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru22.03.2011

Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version