Innovation News: The BCMI

Hi- Mrs. D'Arco here. I'm Northwood School's Innovation + Design facilitator (not teacher). It's an important distinction to me, because my role is to help students realize their ideas. I provide support and guidance and inspiration on one hand, but I also tell students directly when I think they can do better or need to go back to the drawing board. It is exciting work. No day is like the last!

Anyhow, I hope you'll enjoy this first post of our Innovation in the News series. Each week,  members of our classes will blog about some kind of new invention in the world. It is a part of our weekly routine, and I look forward to learning about student's picks for this series.

For the first entry, I found an invention that allows paralyzed people to compose music, simply by looking at a digital interface. The Brain-Computer Music Interface (BCMI) is the invention of musician and composer, Eduardo Miranda, who came up with the idea after meeting someone with Locked In Syndrome 11 years ago. 

Professor Eduardo Miranda. Photo credit: Plymouth University

Electrodes are connected to the back of a person's head through a web-like cap. The electrodes sense brain activity and pick up on changes that are made when a person looks at flashing icons on a screen. By associating different notes and sequences with different frequencies of flashing lights, the cap can tell when someone is selecting one note or sequence over another. 

Eduardo Miranda's Brain-Computer Interface. Photo credit: Plymouth University

You can learn more about this invention here. As I read the article, I wondered what kind of implications this invention has for visual art? I'm curious to know how we might make something that could help paralyzed people paint or draw as they'd like to. What if we could design something that would help someone choreograph a dance and somehow provide instruction to dancers? 

A string Quartet. Photo credit: Plymouth University

You can here a piece of music composed with the Brain-Computer Music Interface on Soundcloud for a string quartet here. This is a "live" piece. Four people composed the score with the BCMI and four others played it as it was generated.  Enjoy!