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Let’s talk about what happened at the Capstone Fair!

This was a really exciting day, and I was really looking forward to talking with others about my project and to do the demonstrations. The demonstrations were especially fun with Krista and Jason as my volunteers. I really loved seeing their reactions, as well as the onlooker’s reactions to the art being created in real time.

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My setup consisted of my laptop and monitor, as well as the circuit and my placecard. I had the oscilloscope on the table, too, in preparation for demonstrations.

DSC01788Behind my table, I kept my bag of session supplies for prepping for the demonstrations. I actually spent a good amount of time preparing for those, so although my designated presenting time was from 7-8pm I still spent time from 6-7pm getting things ready and answering questions from people passing by.

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My first demonstration was with Krista! Everything went pretty smoothly, save the ground electrode popping off on the first attempt (but that was easily fixed). There weren’t too many observers for this demonstration in comparison to Jason’s, but I think that’s because it was pretty early in the fair and the amount of people hit their peak around 7pm. Regardless, I really enjoyed doing it and seeing what Krista’s brain created.

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For Jason’s session, a small crowd of people huddled around to see the process and the art. There was a really great moment in this session where the “dance party” prompt triggered particle additions of multiple colors, so people got to see the program and Jason’s brain syncing up with each other.

Question wise, people were mostly interested in the way the circuit worked to read the brainwaves. One of the best questions I got (which kind of startled me) was if the circuit would work on anything, like a banana. I told them that anything with a readable voltage output would be able to control the program, which is true! Since the program only relies on voltage, and not frequencies, it would be very easy to just hook it up to something random or generate voltages. As far as I know, bananas don’t really have varying voltages so it’d probably be a really boring art output. But it could work.

Overall, people were really interested in learning more about the project. I told them that I was going to be posting my code and process so they could replicate it, and some seemed really interested in looking into that! I had a few people come up and ask me if they could try it out, too, but due to the amount of time I wasn’t able to do more than the two demonstrations I did. It would have been really great to do more sessions, either during the capstone fair or before, but I’m still happy with the number of volunteers that participated for my project. I hope people find my website and are able to recreate this project, and to build on it too. There’s so much more that could be done, both in terms of circuit improvements and program adjustments to tend to a certain goal. I hope I’ve inspired others to look at neuroscience as something they could do at home, too.

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