Wednesday November 13, 2019

Encephalophone : This Musical Instrument Lets Users Create Music With Mind

New 'hands-free' instrument lets you create music by thought alone

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Encephalophone is a hands free musical instrument
Musical Notes. Pixabay

July 14, 2017:

A newly-developed musical instrument will now enable people to produce music with their minds without letting the use of hands on the device. The instrument called Encephalophone — “enceph” means “head” — is described in a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

In the study, fifteen novice normal subjects were tested for their ability to hit target notes presented within a 5 min trial period. All 15 subjects were able to perform more accurately than a random note generation.

Researchers assume that this new instrument will rehabilitate patients with motor disabilities such as those from stroke and others.

Thomas Deuel, an author from the University of Washington explained, “The Encephalophone is a musical instrument that you control with your thoughts, without movement.”

ALSO READ: The Need to Introduce Music Education in our Schools: Why is it Underfunded?

Deuel adds, “I am a musician and neurologist, and I’ve seen many patients who played music prior to their stroke or other motor impairment, who can no longer play an instrument or sing. I thought it would be great to use a brain-computer instrument to enable patients to play music again without requiring movement.”

The Encephalophone collects brain signals through a cap that transforms the signals into musical notes. The invention is combined with a synthesizer which allows the user to create music using a variety of instrumental sounds.

Music is already a great source to help people regain brain function, and the hands-free instrument could be used in this type of therapy. The authors write that combining the Encephalophone with physical therapy could help rewire key circuits in the part of the brain responsible for movement.

Over the decades, there have been numerous attempts to use brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to produce music and met with some success. Advances in BCI technology are facilitating finer degrees of control over diverse technologies, making it possible for those who have lost control of limbs to walk, manipulate objects, or even drive again.

 “There is great potential for the Encephalophone to hopefully improve rehabilitation of stroke patients and those with motor disabilities,” Deuel remarked.

 

– Prepared by a Staff Writer at Newsgram

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Facebook Develops Augmented Reality Interface Device to Help Users Type with their Mind

The UCSF team has been able to decode a small set of full, spoken words and phrases from brain activity in real time -- a first in the field of BCI research

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Facebook o help patients with neurological damage speak again by detecting intended speech from brain activity in real time. Pixabay

Facebook is developing a brain-computer Augmented Reality (AR) interface device that would help users type with their mind. At its F8 Developers’ Conference in 2017, the company announced its Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) programme — outlining its goal to build a non-invasive, wearable device that lets people type by simply imagining themselves talking.

Facebook is supporting a team of researchers at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who are working to help patients with neurological damage speak again by detecting intended speech from brain activity in real time.

In a paper appeared in the journal Nature Communications, the UCSF team “has shared how far we have to go to achieve fully non-invasive BCI as a potential input solution for AR glasses”, said Facebook in a blog post on Tuesday.

The UCSF team has been able to decode a small set of full, spoken words and phrases from brain activity in real time — a first in the field of BCI research. The researchers emphasise that their algorithm is so far only capable of recognising a small set of words and phrases, but ongoing work aims to translate much larger vocabularies with dramatically lower error rates.

augmented reality, facebook
Augmented Reality (AR)-powered wearable computers can help those with ASD gain confidence, clarity, understanding, social integration and self-sufficiency. Flickr

“The promise of AR lies in its ability to seamlessly connect people to the world that surrounds them and to each other. Rather than looking down at a phone screen or breaking out a laptop, we can maintain eye contact and retrieve useful information and context without ever missing a beat,” Facebook added.

As Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and the team at Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) see it, “we are standing on the edge of the next great wave in human-oriented computing, one in which the combined technologies of AR and VR converge and revolutionise how we interact with the world around us”.

“It is going to be something completely new, as clean a break from anything that has come before as the mouse/GUI-based interface was from punch cards, printouts, and teletype machines,” said Abrash.

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Facebook first announced in 2017 that its research lab, Building 8, was working on a computer-brain interface. Pixabay

The aim of the BCI research programme at Facebook Reality Labs is to develop a non-invasive, silent speech interface that will let people type just by imagining the words they want to say – a technology that could one day be a powerful input for all-day wearable AR glasses.

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Ultimately, the researchers hope to reach a real-time decoding speed of 100 words per minute with a 1,000-word vocabulary and word error rate of less than 17 per cent. Facebook first announced in 2017 that its research lab, Building 8, was working on a computer-brain interface.

The Facebook programme comes on the heels of Elon Musk-led startup Neuralink’s bold research that has revealed tiny brain “threads” in a chip which is long lasting, usable at home and has the potential to replace cumbersome devices currently used as brain-machine interfaces. (IANS)