BrainBit’s brain-scanning EEG headbands have been on display at a unique venue lately: the theater.
The privately-held company teamed up with The Female Role Model Project to put on a performance where EEG scans are an actual part of the show.
The cast is outfitted with the headbands that detect alpha, beta, delta and theta brain waves, with an on-stage neuroscientist to interpret the results.
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The show, described as “part performance, part game show, part storytime, and part psychology lesson,” by creator Tjasa Ferme, concludes with audience members asking questions of actresses portraying women including Kim Kardashian and Melania Trump. As the women grapple with questions about motherhood, sexuality and aging, their brain waves control the music playing behind them.
The whole exercise is an invitation to the attendees to cognitively provoke them and “become the DJ of their brain,” Ferme told Proactive in an interview.
The show, put on by Ferme's Transforma Theater, had an off-Broadway run in November and is headed to Edinburgh, Scotland, this summer.
Ferme also co-led a spring semester class at the New York City College of Technology that let students use BrainBit devices to build video games using brain wave data.
Students, taught by Ferme and video game designer Corey Bertelsen, created a series of brain computer interface games, including a meditation-themed game that tracked users levels of stress, attention, productive relaxation and meditation.
For Bertelsen and his students, it was a unique challenge building a nontraditional video game. BrainBit worked with the class to help turn brain waves into data that could be used to develop a game, and the students designed the interface that became the final product.
Depending on where their brain waves took them, users were greeted by audio clips of different inspirational women.
High levels of stress brought out Serena Williams, attention introduced players to Michelle Obama, relaxation saw Ellen DeGeneres and meditation, for anyone lucky enough to achieve it, heard from Guru Jagat.
--This story was updated to include additional information about Tjasa Ferme and Corey Bertelsen's class at CUNY; a previous version stated incorrectly stated that BrainBit tracks gamma waves, not theta waves–-
Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel
Photo courtesy of David Nicholson and The Female Role Model Project