This EEG Helmet Makes Music From Brainwaves
London-based artist Aiste Noreikaite's 'The Experience Helmet' turns its wearer's attention span into sound.
Images courtesy the artist. Photos © Natalja Safronova
The white motorcycle helmet you see above is no ordinary skull protector: it's actually a high tech device that houses the music of brainwaves. Using EEG technology, The Experience Helmet translates the wearer’s neural processes into sound in real time, creating an “audible reflection of one’s personal experience of the present moment,” according to its creator, London-based artist Aiste Noreikaite.
Noreikaite, who was inspired by Buddhist meditation practices, wanted to enhance self-awareness with her creation. First, she took a helmet apart and drilled an EEG wireless headset and headphones inside. Then, she searched for the best way to turn the data from the headset into sound, or “numbers into music,” finally settling on pure electronic signals to represent brainwaves. With a meter programmed to measure attentiveness, the sounds inside Noreikaite's helmet become higher when users have clear minds, and faster and more rhythmic when they focus on particular subjects.
There may also be hidden benefits to wearing The Experience Helmet. Writes Noreikaite, “I programmed sound frequencies a little bit differently in left and right sides so when they are heard together they produce a third frequency which can be heard just inside of our heads." The ghost frequency vibrates at 10Hz, equivalent to the Alpha brainwaves that occur in states of light meditation, and may have the ability to influence them in wearers. “User hears the sound that is being generated by his brainwaves. The brainwaves recognize themselves in that sound and reacts to it very positively, then this is looped back to them via sound again and again.” Many wearers of The Experience Helmet, in fact, told Noreikaite that they felt better after putting the helmet on.
In her next artistic investigation, she plans to translate human emotions to sounds. Below, Noreikaite's photo essay of the helmet in different locales in London, influenced by dream worlds and psychedelia, wonders what it would be like to hear our brainwaves wherever we go:
Visit Aiste Noreikaite's website to learn more.