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Knitting With Your Brainwaves On Music… Is This the Future Of Clothing?


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Some people have way too much time on their hands and a wild imagination! It’s particularly true for some artists who are involved with neurosciences. Have you heard about neuroknitting? No of course, and how is this related to music? Well, artists Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet and scientist/PhD student researcher Sebastian Mealla have found a way to connect neuroscience, knitting and music in one unique project.

Brains produce brainwaves all the time, but these people were particularly interested by brainwaves produced by people listening to music. They were able to record brainwave activity and then converted it into a knitted pattern. This is the more precise explanation given by the authors:

‘We have plotted brainwave activity into a knitted pattern. Using a wearable, non-invasive EEG headset, we recorded users’ affective states while listening to Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’, concretely the aria and its first seven variations. The audio was about 10 minutes long and we downsampled each second of the signal coming from the 14 channels of the EEG device. Three main features were measured: relaxation, excitement, and cognitive load. After recording, those features were converted into a knitting pattern. Hence, every stitch of a pattern corresponds to a unique brain state stimulated by the act of listening. It means the user’s affective response to music is captured every second and memorized in the knitted garment pattern.’

It seems like going through a lot of trouble to make a scarf and I still have a problem to understand the conversion between a brainwave and a stitch of a knitting pattern, but it is an interesting idea, although totally wacky.

The authors explained they used music instead of anything else because music ‘is one of the most powerful mood inducers, provoking immediate affective reactions’ and so affecting brainwaves. A show on TV would probably not have stimulated the patient’s brain very much.

There were two important factors in the process, first the type of music used (they used Bach but what would have happened with AC/DC?), secondly, the listener as we all react differently to a certain type of music. That’s why the authors conclude that they ‘were able to create unique patterns coming from unique humans traits. In other words, personalized, implicit knitting with context and message.’

I wonder if it is the future of clothing, patterns dictated by our own brainwaves listening to our favorite music? Imagine to all the possibilities….

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