The Multimodal Brain Orchestra
Visual art, music and dance allow people to express their emotional experiences and put them on display for others. By using their bodies people produce masterpiece paintings, play glorious symphonies or put on amazing dance recitals but what would happen if we took our bodies out of the equation? This is what the Multimodal Brain Orchestra created by the Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS) group at the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona wanted to investigate.
The piece which was performed for the first time at the 2009 Science Beyond Fiction conference in Prague, maintained an underlying structure composed by Jonatas Manzolli, however, members of the orchestra were fitted with caps which were recording their EEGs (electroencephalographs used to record electrical activity in the brain). Specifically marked changes in brain waves were then translated into musical notes and displayed on a screen producing an incredible visual and auditory experience for its audience. The orchestra also involved the use a conventional conductor, who would direct the attention of orchestra members to different stimuli and an ¨emotional conductor¨who was being shown images by artist Behdad Rezazadeh while her EEG readings, heart rate and skin conductance were being measured and displayed.
As director of the Multi Modal Brain Orchestra, Paul Verschure has been involved in other fascinating research that involves the application of biological models of perception, learning, behaviour and problem solving to differents areas of robotics, interactive spaces and avatars. Paul is also a current member of the Coordination Action of the Robot Companions for Citizens FET Flagship Initiative.
You can read more about this in an article by the BBC