[sdiy] brainwaves to CV :O)

Barry Klein Barry.L.Klein at wdc.com
Fri Sep 10 01:22:39 CEST 2010

If one concentrates on a constant pitch, has any instrumentation ever been
able to focus on it and detect it?

-----Original Message-----
From: synth-diy-bounces at dropmix.xs4all.nl
[mailto:synth-diy-bounces at dropmix.xs4all.nl] On Behalf Of Rutger Vlek
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 3:44 PM
To: synth-diy at dropmix.xs4all.nl
Subject: Re: [sdiy] brainwaves to CV :O)

Amen & thank you Scott :).

That's a well-argued point of view. However, there's one part I disagree on.
The brain is quite different from the body itself, when it comes to
evolution. The brain has shown to be extremely plastic, within a human
lifetime. So we don't need thousands of years of evolution to make it
change. An example: in case of a malfunctioning inner ear, cochlear implants
are frequently put in place, stimulating the auditory nerve in a very
different way that a natural cochlea would have done. However, the brain is
able to adapt itself to a certain degree to this new input. In the same way
you can see remapping of brain-area's in case of blindness or deafness. The
'unused' brain area's start to be remapped to more useful functions. 

And arguing from a different point of view: it's not thanks to many years of
evolution that I can play my home built synth. My genetically similar family
members can't play it at all!

So, given that scalp recordings (EEG) are a very crude way to capture what's
really going on in the brain, I still think that once there is a direct
connection to a musical instrument the brain could learn to use it.


On 9 sep 2010, at 23:47, Scott Gravenhorst wrote:

> The animal brain did not evolve in an evironment in which the animal
benefits from
> signals that leave the brain for any reason.  Nor were there nor are there
any challenges
> provided by nature which encourage or ellicit such benefits.  However,
animals did and do
> benefit from the physical electrochemical connections to sensory organs
and muscles.  
> Human beings which are also animals have evolved in the same or similar
way such that we
> developed efficient connections from the brain to sensory organs and
muscles.  The use of
> the sensory organs and muscles provided advantages for (at least) feeding
and breeding,
> thus we prospered.  
> The fact that some electrical signals can be detected by sensitive
electrical equipment
> is, in my opinion, merely a side effect, a curiousity.  The human brain
certainly seems
> capable of some amount of multitasking, such as walking while talking or
playing a
> musical instrument in which the limbs (and other parts) are doing
something perhaps
> related, but different.  
> The connections for muscle control come from specific parts of the brain
that evolved to
> handle those specific functions effectively.  It may be more like
multiprocessing than
> multitasking.  Because of the lack of encouragement/reward from evolution
for external
> signal use (what in nature responds to such signals?) and because
evolution did produce
> advanced connections for limbs and sense, I would have to agree with Barry
that the idea
> of a mentally conducted piano concert will never be as good as one done
with hands and
> other parts, mainly because we have real evolutionary advantages in using
our hands to
> manipulate our physical world and we have no such advantages produced
because of
> electrical activity that eminates from the skull.  
> I think that the technology to even approach something like playing a
fugue from mental
> electrical activity sensed by a machine are a very long way off.  Consider
also that the
> brain is a three dimensional object and connecting to it's exterior
surface would at best
> give only a blurred and distorted summing view of the multitude of
individual signals
> generated within.  Separation of specific signals seems required for such
a task and at
> present, the technology to do so doesn't exist.  (yes, I saw that "House"
episode and I
> thought the same way Barry did: No - it doesn't work like that)
> I would not discourage experimentation in this regard, but I personally
hold out little
> hope for real success.
> -- ScottG
> ________________________________________________________________________
> -- Scott Gravenhorst
> -- FPGA MIDI Synthesizer Information: home1.gte.net/res0658s/FPGA_synth/
> -- FatMan: home1.gte.net/res0658s/fatman/
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> -- When the going gets tough, the tough use the command line.
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