DIY Brain-Machine Interfaces Turn YOU Into an Instrument

Date TBA

Let's first remix some Kesha Lyrics...

"I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums" - By replacing one word, we can totally change those lyrics' meaning and spin off a bold new dynamic: "I hear your heart beat, ITS the beat of the drums!"

Speaker Will Wharton develops low-cost versions of powerful neuroscience research tools and experiments with Backyard Brains. Their goal is to democratize neuroscience, and in this talk Will will first perform live neuroscience experiments revealing the inner-workings of the nervous system, then he will harness these signals to turn his heart, brain, eyes, and muscles into an avant-garde musical instrument.

Music is a powerful tool for engagement in education, and now it can inspire students and blend with tech to enable passionate K12 students and amateurs to tinker with DIY neuro-engineering tools, enabling them to hack their own Brain-Machine Interfaces to control robotics, video games, and even music with signals from within their own nervous system. This also serves a greater purpose: Neuroscience Education is critically important, as the World Health Organization cites that one in five people will suffer from a neurological disorder or disease in their lifetime which there is no treatment or cure for. Traditionally, the tools used to study the brain are expensive and the knowledge of how to use them is held behind the university pay-wall, but with the growing accessibility of low-cost resources, K12 students are now able to start learning about brain science early!

The purpose of this talk and these demonstrations is not to sell you on "the way music will be played in the future" (although maybe...), but rather to introduce and educate new audiences on the magic of their own brains and bodies, to introduce and explain simple Brain-Machine Interfaces, and to perhaps inspire educators, inventors, musicians, and (future) biohackers to take these ideas and see what they can create.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Will Wharton

Backyard Brains

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