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Re: OT: "Musicians may soon be able to play instruments using just the power of the mind"


My comments: get BACK on your high horse, contact the Arts and
Humanities Research Council and get involved. They NEED to have the
scientific rigor that you say it is lacking. Artists and scholars of
the humanities have really only just begun to fully adopt digital
technologies. If you have expertise and a common interest it behooves

A fellow faculty member's husband has just become part of a
multi-million dollar Nation Science Foundation grant ... but he's a
philosopher. Why a philisopher? (aside from the obvious, "Why not?")
... because there was an "ethics" side to the application and he
happens to have the happy intersection of technology and philosophy as
his area of expertise.

Don't assume that the experts of another field have considered ALL the
possibilities; they call it RESEARCH for a reason.

My $.05 (I've raised my rates with the increase in fuel costs),


On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 3:38 AM, Stephen Scott <stevoj@yahoo.com> wrote:
> In my life outside looping, I earn my living as a clinical 
>neurophysiologist.  For the last 29 years, I have been performing 
>numerous neurophysiological examinations, including EEGs, on a daily 
>basis.  This would be a total of at least 30,000 EEGs.  I have been 
>running a busy department for the last 8 years, and like to think I have 
>a fair amount of knowledge in the subject.
> My heart sinks when I see articles such as this.  Be aware that the 
>research in this article is funded by the 'Arts and Humantities Research 
>Council'; I suspect that the researchers would have had little luck 
>getting funding from a scientific institution.
> The BBC aren't particularly great at presenting these type of popular 
>science stories. They always leave me frustrated and yearning for more 
>information and detail.  I haven't read the original research paper, so 
>for this reason, I'd be inclined to give Dr. Grierson the benefit of the 
>doubt.  However, there are so many flaws in the research presented here, 
>it's difficult to know where to begin.
> 1.  A routine EEG recording requires 23 electrodes over the whole of the 
>scalp, this giving adequate coverage of most of the important areas of 
>brain function.
> 2.  This research appears to use just 2 electrodes.  The one placed over 
>the pre-frontal cortex would probably be the 'reference electrode'.  The 
>'active' electrode appears to be placed in the Cz position, which is 
>roughly over the foot/leg area for motor control.  The only conceivable 
>way that using this electrode to control a pitched noted would possibly 
>to imagine that you are using your foot to play a note on a floor pedal.  
>But the numbers were displayed too quickly on the screen for this to be 
> 3.  If the pre-frontal electrode were the active electrode, it is most 
>likely that the eye movement artefact (ie electrical signals generated by 
>the ocular movement - NOT from the mind - these are the 'blips' on the 
>screen that Dr.G shows) would be generating the note.  This is just about 
>feasible IF each note is displayed on exactly the same position on the 
>screen each time, but still very unlikely for all sorts of technical 
>reasons (eg, if eye fixation is maintained in one position, it would 
>require a DC amplifier to be able to register this steady position - 
>looking at the EEG trace, this is defintely an AC amplifier he's using.  
>There are several other reasons I can think of, but won't bore you with). 
> In any case, using eye movements to control a device is definitely not 
>utilising 'the power of the mind'.
> 4.  If I remember correctly, the part of the brain for processing 
>musical information is likely to be the temporal lobes, and it is 
>probable that both temporal lobes are involved in this simultaneously. 
>This demonstration has no electrodes anywhere the temporal lobes.  I 
>should check the real paper to see where the electrodes were actually 
> 5. Any changes in brain activity in this type of task are very subtle, 
>and would not be visible in an EEG recording.  It would require a 
>separate technique known as 'signal averaging' to pick out these minute 
>changes.  Unfortunately, this would take at least several minutes to 
>register each note - therefore cannot be used in real times.
> Like I said, it is possible that this was just a quick rigged set up to 
>demonstrate the basic principles, and the research may well be valid.  If 
>so, my sincere apologies to Dr. Grierson, and 'Grrrrr!' to the BBC.
> Apologies for the rant.
> I'm now getting off my high horse.
> Stephen
> --- On Fri, 6/13/08, Stefan Tiedje <Stefan-Tiedje@addcom.de> wrote:
>> From: Stefan Tiedje <Stefan-Tiedje@addcom.de>
>> Subject: Re: OT: "Musicians may soon be able to play instruments using 
>just the power of the mind"
>> To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
>> Date: Friday, June 13, 2008, 7:40 AM
>> Per Boysen schrieb:
>> > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7446552.stm
>> This is so seventies, and the guy wants to sell it as
>> "new technology",
>> and the journalists also don't know its old and think
>> its worth to note...
>> My brain to music interface works much better already, its
>> my fingers
>> which play an instrument, its available since milleniums...
>> Stefan
>> --
>> Stefan Tiedje------------x-------
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