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Brain Control Club

THE BRAIN CONTROL CLUB

The Brain Control Club  is a XL PhD Club. It’s activities consist of interactive workshops and meetings (every two weeks), invited lectures as well as online documentation and discussions. The focus is on understanding and developing software and hardware for Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). BCIs measure electrophysiological signals from the brain and body and use these to control external equipment. BCIs can also be used in a closed-loop system, where the signals are fed back to the subject, thereby allowing them to learn about – and even control – the physiological processes that are measured. In the Brain Control Club participants are be able to develop their own BCI projects, taking advantage of our and each others knowledge and expertise.

The workshops and lectures focus on the different aspects of BCI applications:

  • How are electrophysiological signals measured?
  • How can these signals be analyzed in realtime?
  • How can the output of these analyses be converted into control signals?
  • How can control signals be used for practical and creative applications?

We encourage anybody with an interest in learning more about the brain works to join by contacting us!!!!

RESOURCES

We are using the software and hardware used and developed in the EEGsynth project. As an XL Club, the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity had granted us a budget to acquire a set of  OpenBCI EEG boards, Raspberri Pis , electrodes and caps and all the necesary material to develop our projects

Who are we?

The Brain Control Club officially started with a two-day hackathon, that was held at the CRI on 22nd and 23rd of October in 2016. In this event, the members decided that the club would be organized around individual projects that tackle a particular “brain hack” or research question. The contribution of each project to the club is through the development of software and documentation, while the club provides access to equipment, documentation, software, events, lectures, support and a critical space to develop the Brain Computer Interfaces together. We currently consist of more than 20 members coming from different backgrounds, including cognitive and system neuroscience, artificial intelligence and biology.

Mentorship:

The club is very fortunate to be able to count on the expertise and mentorship of three senior scientists.
Prof. Robert Oostenveld (NL) is the main developer of the world-renowned FieldTrip toolbox for M/EEG analysis. He was our main invited guest during the kickstart hackathon event hosted in October. He developed teaching material and slides for the occasion and has will do so at future events as well. He actively assists in the further development of the code that we use, and continues to support us with expert advice through our slack platform.
Dr. Stephen Whitmarsh is a postdoctoral researcher at ENS/LNC, within the group of Professor Catherine Tallon-Baudry. He is initiator and developer of the open-source real-time analysis platform EEGSynth. Aside from on-site tutoring, he will further develop the EEGsynth within the Brain Control Club, thereby providing theoretical and practical know-how on the ins-and-outs of the software and hardware that we are using.
Dr. Guillaume Dumas is a research fellow of the Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Laboratory in the Institut Pasteur, and an affiliate member of the Human Brain and Behavior Laboratory, in the Center for Complex Systems and Brains Sciences of Florida Atlantic University. He also participates in various projects melting Design and Art, and does scientific journalism for radio and public journals. He is the co-founder of the HackYourPhD community, which advocates the use of openness in Science and Knowledge as a common good in Society.

Projects

EEGame
This project introduces a new approach to game control. It consists of the development of an open-source platform to interface with computer-games. We aim to use brain signals to control video games such as Mario or Space Invaders. This enjoyable way to introduce cutting-edge technologies to the young public has the ambition to foster scientific outreach in neuroscience and machine-learning.
Nirvana
This project aims at developing tools to help users arrive and maintain a focused and calm state of mind, both in meditation or in a daily work context.
Morpheus
Ever since it was discovered that memories get consolidated in sleep, people have attempted to take control of this process. Unfortunately, we can’t learn new facts or skills while we sleep. However, we are able to selectively boost some memories by using reminders (such as scents or sounds) during sleep. Playing such reminders induces targeted memory reactivation (TMR) and improves memory performance. However, the mechanisms of how this happens are not understood, and none of the TMR studies to date have timed the reminders to the ongoing brain activity. This project aims to induce TMR at specific sleep events, and reveal which events and brain patterns are causal to TMR improvements in memory.

Supporting platforms and collaborations
EEGSynth
The EEGsynth is an open-source codebase, including some open-source hardware, developed by Robert Oostenveld and Stephen Whitmarsh (Brain Control Club tutors) under the science-art collective 1+1=3 (http://www.oneplusoneisthree.org). It is an actively developed project that provides a necessary and sufficient starting point for BCI applications, interfacing with the open-hardware mobile EEG amplifiers that the Brain Control Club uses. It has been originally developed for interfacing electrophysiological signals from the brain and body (EEG, EMG and ECG) with analogue and digital synthesizers and light equipment for artistic performances. It has been very successful and has resulted in artistic performances and cross-disciplinary art-neuroscience workshops in Athens (GR), Stockholm (SW), San Diego & Los Angeles, California (UAS) and Tucson, Arizona (USA). The purpose of the software and hardware development (http://www.eegsynth.org) is to provide a device for anyone to use their own brain and body activity to flexibly and powerfully control performative equipment in real-time. It is therefore a highly collaborative interdisciplinary open-source
project, bringing together musicians, artists, neuroscientists and developers, in artistic and scientific exploration, research and expression. The developers have agreed to further develop their project in parallel and in close collaboration with the Brain Control Club, thereby providing us with detailed and hands-on support throughout the whole process from idea to application.

COGITO

COGITO is a project by artist Daniela de Paulis (NL). Part of the project involves the recording and transmission of human brain activity (EEG) into space using the Dwingeloo Radio Observatory telescope in the Netherlands. Daniela de Paulis joined us for the opening hackathon event as a collaborator of Stephen Whitmarsh, Robert Oostenveld and Guillame Dumas (the Brain Control Club tutors). Her project brings together researchers, scientists, designers, engineers and artists. Because of the very interesting questions that the installation requires them to solve, the project brings in new challenges and will provide novel solutions to creative problems that inspire and cross-fertilize the CRI projects. For instance, new robust and very high-quality methods need to be developed to record and analyze EEG from many subjects, extract meaningful signals and investigate ways of encoding these signals for radio-transmission and decoding by agents who might do not share any cultural references with us (Atri et al 2011). Daniela de Paulis expressed great enthusiasm and interest in collaborating with the Brain Control Club, and because of her official collaboration with the tutors will provide many solutions to problems that the projects of the students will sooner or later face once their project reach the proto-type phase.[:fr]

BRAIN CONTROL CLUB 1st HACKATON

We will officially open the BCC with a kick-off event the 22-23 of October. This event will start the Brain Control Club – a new PHD club at the Centre Researches Interdisciplinaires for creating brain computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs measure electrophysiological signals from the brain/body, and use these signals to control external devices. This also allows for the creation of feedback-loops, giving you a chance to learn about – or even control – your physiological processes. The goal of the BCC is to help its members develop their own BCI project, whether this is for the purpose of entertainment, art, neuroscience or health. The club will be a place to meet, create together and share knowledge and ideas about BCIs.

The hackathon will be the first event of the BCC, and a first step towards realizing your dream BCI project with the help of Robert Oostenveld (Donders Center) and Stephen Whitmarsh (LNC/ENS). Robert is a world renowned neuroscience engineer and main developer of the FieldTrip analysis toolbox used world-wide for (realtime) analysis. (http://www.fieldtriptoolbox.org/). Stephen and Robert have together developed the EEGsynth (http://www.EEGsynth.org), a device for creating music based on real-time EEG analysis, using the OpenBCI (http://www.openBCI.com), an open-source EEG device.

At the hackathon we will assemble the members of the BCC. Each participant will be asked to propose a BCI project that he/she wants to develop, or to take inspiration from – and collaborate with – other members. During the first day we will be focusing on the basics of BCI and use the EEGsynth to explore solutions to many of the problems a BCI project will encounter. The second day will be focused on developing (coding) and planning your own (or group) project, as well as defining a strategy for the rest of the year. The club will have several OpenBCI systems to work with, as well as several Raspberry Pi’s, but you will need to bring your own laptop. Although some programming skills (MATLAB or Python) are necessary for taking full advantage of this event, we encourage everybody with a brain (license, master, phd-students, staff, artists, philosophers, designers, curious souls, etc.) to attend, since new and creative ideas will drive our exploration of the exciting potential of BCIs.


Register to the event here

THE BRAIN CONTROL CLUB

The Brain Control Club will consist of interactive workshops and meetings (every two weeks), invited lectures as well as online documentation and discussions. The focus will be the understanding and development of software and hardware for Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). BCIs measure electrophysiological signals from the brain and body and use these to control external equipment. BCIs can also be used in a closed-loop system, where the signals are fed back to the subject, thereby allowing them to learn about – and even control – the physiological processes that are measured. In the Brain Control Club participants will be able to develop their own BCI projects, taking advantage of our and each others knowledge and expertise.

The workshops and lectures will focus on the different aspects of BCI applications:

  • How are electrophysiological signals measured?
  • How can these signals be analyzed in realtime?
  • How can the output of these analyses be converted into control signals?
  • How can control signals be used for practical and creative applications?

We encourage anybody with an interest in learning more about the brain works to join !!!!

THE CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY

The CRI was founded in Paris, in 2005 as a convivial place at the crossroad of life sciences and exact, natural, cognitive, and social sciences. Today, the CRI offers three degree programs integrated in the Bettencourt curriculum: an undergraduate program (Licence Frontières du Vivant, FdV, Paris-Descartes University), a masters program (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences, AIV Master,Paris-Descartes University, Paris-Diderot University), and a doctoral program (Frontiers of Life, Ecole doctorale 474 Frontières du Vivant, FdV). The CRI’s dedicated facilities host visiting professors, a variety of courses, and many student clubs. The CRI’s main role is to promote new educational techniques and strategies to empower the students to take initiative and develop their own research projects.

RESOURCES

We will use the software and hardware used and developed in our EEGsynth project. The Center for Research and Interdisciplinaritysupports us with the resources for two sets of OpenBCI EEG boards, Raspberri Pis and Arduinos, a meeting space at Tour Montparnasse and use of the OpenLab makers laboratory.

FOUNDING MEMBERS

  • Aamir Abbasi (Biomedical Engineering) pursues a PhD in neuroscience with a focus on brain-machine interfaces.
  • Hernan Anllo (Psychology) is a PhD candidate specialized in attention, naturally altered states of consciousness and metacognition. He currently studies the psychophysics and electrophysiological fluctuations of attentional allocation as modulated by hypnosis and suggestion.
  • Ignacio Rebollo (Psychology) is a PhD student researching the question how electrical rhythms from the heart and stomach interact with the brain.
  • Maxime (Cognitive Science) is a PhD student interested in applying computational models to neurimaging data in order to understand decision making.
  • Wei Ouyang (Computer Science) is a PhD candidate at Institut Pasteur working on applying artificial intelligence (deep learning) methods to recover and understand super-resolution microscopy images. He has a rich experience in multiple fields such as electronics R&D, control theory and data mining, and worked in KTH Sweden as a researcher in wearable devices for pain management.
  • Stephen Whitmarsh (Neuroscience) holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience for research on the role of oscillatory brain activity in attention. He is also a graduate in Arts and Media production, and has been involved in multidisciplinary science projects for many years. More recently, he has developed an opensource BCI project for controlling musical and visual performance equipment.