2016-05-02

Letting the Brain Generate Music

Artist and entrepreneur Matan Berkowitz develops instruments that react to brain waves and minimal movements. In his talk "Music is the Instrument – Innovation for Impact" he explained how this type of technology can, for example, help paralyzed people make music.

Berkowitz buckles on a thin strap to the back of his right hand. The "Airstrument" is his new project. When he moves his hand, electronic music comes flowing out of the speakers. If he closes his hand to a fist drums ring out and when he raises his arm, the pitch changes. With this, he produces a beat in a matter of seconds using just one hand.

With technical instruments like the "Airstrument", Matan Berkowitz makes it possible for people with motor disabilities to make music. He's also adapted the Google Glass technology to develop an instrument that measures and reacts to brain activity (EEG), as well as registering smaller movements. His project "Discotech" – a name coined from the terms disability, community and technology – includes industrial designers, mathematicians and musicians. Using 3D printers, they produce instruments that are individually adapted to a person's needs so that they can play whatever music they want themselves, no matter their motor disabilities.

 Image: re:publica/Gregor Fischer (CC BY 2.0)