Hacking Heuristics

OPEN SOURCE PROCESS 

01.06.2022

BAD AWARD: Hacking Heuristics BAD Award Winners

PROTOTYPE HEADSET
UPDATED SENSORS
After much experimentation and prototyping and testing, I have decided to narrow down on the types of sensors and the location of the electrical stimulation. For the sensors I have decided:  1. Pre-frontal cortex activity   2. Eye movement   3. Heart Rate and Sweat Response  And for the stimulation location - because of the experience of having my cerebellum (the back of my brain responsible for balance) and because of the difficulty to have contact with the skin on most parts of the body, I...
PROTOTYPE HEADSET
Using these suction electrodes, can all the desired locations on the head be contacted. Here is a first prototype!  
TAKING FORMS
Using polymorph, a reusable moudable plastic, the placement of these electrodes are beginning to take form in a structure.   
SUCTION MARKS
Looking back at the initial illustrations where the work took the form of an octopus, seeing the marks these suction electrodes leave act as a sort of indicator of a new experience, a marking of a new communication system.  
SUCTION ELECTRODES
In order to have sensors and electrodes work properly, without using single use sticky electrodes, looking into suction electrodes seems like a very viable option, allowing visitors to move freely and still have effective placement.     
TRANSLATING BIOSIGNALS
Today I met with Arran Lyon, a creative coder with whom I have also worked with in the past. Together we discussed how to develop the 'translator' algorithm which will transform biosignals into electrical stimulations. Because I do not want the neural network to work with pre-defined data sets, the algorithm must learn by 'doing', and then determine if it's translation was effective by monitoring the biosignals.   However, such an algorithm needs to still have a goal, in o...
STIMULATING THE BRAIN WITH 'NOISE'
On the screen you can see a visualisation of the impulses that were sent to my head. What was so interesting was that usually you receive a pulse, at a certain frequency, so its very linear. This, however, was 'noise', meaning that it was many frequencies at the same time, in a random order. The experience of this was also very bizzare. Unlike the other impulses I had felt that made me sway from side to side, this one was much less of a bodily reaction and more of a visual and physical r...
VIDEO -> BRAIN STIMULATION
Link to video of stimulation taking place, while Patrick explains what is happening. If you look closely you will notice my body swaying from side to side - responding to the stimulation delivered to the left and right side of my head.    Stimulating the Brain from Marlot Meyer on Vimeo.    
BACK AT THE LAB FOR SOME STIMULATION
Today I met with Patrick (the same person who created the balancing robot -- see earlier post), who also works at the department of neuroscience at the Erasmus medical centre in Rotterdam. His area of research mainly focuses on our experience and perception of balance. By placing two electrodes on either side of my head, behind my ears, we stimulated a part of my brain responsible for these 'balance resposponses', to simluate the sensation of rotating my head.   
PRE FRONTAL CORTEX BREAST ELECTRODES
It might be a strange sensation to rest your head on a breast, just like almost all of us once rested our head on our mothers breast...  
SOFT ELECTRODES
Another option for keeping the skin in contact with the electrodes would be to create soft, comfortable sufaces which take in the pressure of the body, allowing the person to be comforatble, and to make efficient contract with the electrodes. Here is a silicone breast implant, with two metal electrodes attached to it. The feeling in and of itself is silightly uncomfotable but very pleasent.   
SUCTION ELECTRODES
Of course another issue is the fact that people will move, and the electrodes (input or output) will lose their grip and not provide effective stimulation or contact to the skin to sense any sort of bio signal. Without using sticky single use electrodes, I've been looking into how to use air and vacuum to hold the sensors onto the skin. Here is one of these prototypes, attached to a little vacuum pump.     
INPUT -> OUTPUT
Here I am using a IRLZ34N Mosfet to change the strength of the electrical impulses depending on the sensed level of touch. Although it works, there isn't enough room to really play with the variation in the impulses.   
ELECTRODE PROTOTYPING
Since the idea is still to provide electrical stimulation as the 'translated' biometric data, a part of the research also involves finding the most suitable material, shape, size and sensation for the electrodes that the visitors will place on their bodies. Here are some prototypes with copper sheets, copper tape, and conductive rubber and spondge.   
READINGS WITH NEW SENSORS
This is heart rate and breath change readings.. but we are so familiar with seeing these lines representing our biological impulses.. how can we move beyond this and start to understand data in a different way?   
SENSING WITH ALAGATOR CLIPS
What I love about these is they come with alagator clips so that you are free to create your own electrodes instead of having to use these single use sticky ones (except in this picture I am actually using the sticky ones for testing).  
TINY LITTLE SENSORS
Very simple to use, just attach to your microcontroller and you can read EMG, ECG, EEG from your body.   
NEW SENSORS
As part of the research process, I am looking for affordable, flexible , open source sensors -- like this BioAmp EXG Pill from a crowd sourced platform developing new technologies. Check it out here -- https://www.crowdsupply.com/upside-down-labs/bioamp-exg-pill  
DIY COPPER SENSORS
The development of these copper sensors instead of having to use sticky single use elecrodes offers more flexibility and accessibility for moving this technology to a public space and public interaction.   
INPUT AND OUTPUT
After simply communicating with each other how we usually do, we added electrical stimulation patches to each other, firstly to see if these would interfere with the signals we were reading, and secondly to explore the idea of control - controlling someone elses body, how does that make the other feel?    
BRAIN WAVE SHAPE
What fascinated me was seeing that unline other biosignals, which often just produce a single line and some noise, the signals from the electrodes on my prefrontal cortex make this beautiful helix shape! As if illustrating our dna..   
INTER-ACTION
Myself and my partner, communicating to each other whilst Marcel (the neuroscientist) looked at the graphs. First we use spoken language, then only body langugage, then only through our eyes and minds.   
SIGNALS ON SCREEN
Brain waves - looking at the graph on the top right - those between 0 and 30 hertz illustrate meditative states, those between 60 and 90 are active brain waves, such as when we think and make decisions, try to solve problems.   
INTERACTION THROUGH DIGITAL DEVICE
Interacting with content, visual and audio, stories, through the use of a phone. How does this differ to interacting with a physical human?   
SENSING INTERACTIONS
Today we recorded our hearts, sweat and brain waves -- 3 different sensors with several high-pass and low pass filters.    
TYPES OF INTERACTION
On Monday we will connect ourselves into our data acquisition machine and measure our heart, brain and sweat response while engaging in several types of interaction. The purpose of this is to see how our bodies respond to these interactions, and if a change can be detected using the sensors.   
ISOLATED STIMULATOR
Connected to this machine, is also the option of choosing to send an electrical impulse as an output. Taking a look at the parameters - this could be useful to also give the neural network the same parameters to work with.     
COPPER POLES AS SENSORS
By using two copper pipes, connected to GND and INPUT + of the DIN cable, we were able to measure several things at the same time: 1. Sweat response 2. Heart Rate 3. Breath   
POWER SPECTRUM
In the right hand corner you can see the colours indicating the hertz of the power generated by my muscles. Right now we are using existing sensors with an existing program but in the future we will develop our own.   
HACKING THE SYSTEM
So to be able to explore new sensors, I replicated the 8 pin DIN input cable, so that we can plug in our own sensors into the PowerLab box.   
CLOSED SYSTEMS
In the lab, they work with these boxes which provide outputs and inuts, and run through a program called PowerLabs. Unfortunately it is very cool, but the system is super closed (you have to use it with the program).  
BIOSIGNALS IN THE LAB
In the neuroscience lab, our process beings by discovering what biosignals are readable, and which hold meaning.   
FINAL OUTPUT ILLUSTRATION
Taking the form of an octopus, inspired by its decentralised brain.   
DATA ACQUISITION FLOW
PITCHING OUR IDEA
On the 1st of June, we pitched our idea and won!   
BALANCING ROBOT
This is the 'balancing robot' in the neuroscience department. Here, it alters your perception of balance.   

03.06.2022

Neuroscience BAD Award Winner 2022, BIO Art & Design