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You Can Now Brain-Compose A Melody

Gernot Müller-Putz


We almost live in the A.I. age, it’s there, almost there, and we haven’t seen the beginning of what it’s about to come. This excites and scares me every time I learn more about it, and this new story is part of our ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep?’ future. Soon we are gonna merge with the machines, and finally know what androids dream about.

Gernot Müller-Putz, head of TU Graz’ Institute of Neural Engineering is an expert on brain-computer interfaces (BCI). BCI can replace bodily functions, and research on BCIs aims to improve the quality of life of people who are paralyzed or have severe motor disabilities. It’s no Sci-Fi as Stanford researchers can extract the movement intentions of paralyzed patients from their brain signals, making them able to use a tablet wirelessly. Machines and human brains are merging at a crazy speed and these new technologies are truly incredible.

But what’s the relationship with music you’re gonna ask? It turns out that a group of researchers led by Gernot Müller-Putz has developed a new method to compose music by means of BCI. ‘All you need is a special cap which measures brain waves, the adapted BCI, a software for composing music, and of course a bit of musical knowledge,’ explains Science Daily

Healthy people, who had a certain degree of basic musical and compositional knowledge, had to think melodies onto a musical score using BCIs, since they can now analyze brain signals and translate them for various applications. This new app was derived from a BCI method called P300, which is currently used for writing using brainwaves. This new version, with a music software and a cap measuring brain waves, allowed people to create original scores. They had first to selected tone length, and pitch, then notes would flash and subjects were asked to focus on the desired option, then the BCI transformed the option into part of the musical score. After 1 hour and 30 minutes, subjects had created a 14-second melody,… This does not seem a lot but we are just at the beginning of this amazing technology, which was totally ‘unimaginable not long ago’ as Müller-Putz said.

The good thing here is that the subject was totally in control, he or she was just using his/her brainwaves to control a machine to compose music, it’s not the ‘bad robot’ sucking all your brainwaves to write a score on its own, but it’s still unbelievable. Imagine when this app is available for your iPhone! Watch the video below.

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