Innovation That Matters

Rock musician uses EEG to control live music and visuals

Sport & Fitness

Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is now using an EEG headset to create thought-controlled visuals and music for concert dates on his band's Superorganism tour.

Sign in or buy a plan to view this innovation

The possibilities of EEG readers for interpreting brain data are already becoming apparent – we’ve already seen Chile’s ThinkerThing provide a way for users to design 3D-printed objects with their thoughts. Now former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is using an EEG headset to create thought-controlled visuals and music for concert dates on his band’s Superorganism tour.

In order to read the electrical waves produces by his brain, the percussionist wears a hat embedded with electrodes placed against his head. Musical notes are assigned to the different signals, meaning that the musician’s brain activity is turned into audio output. At the same time, a visualization of Hart’s brain is also shown on a large screen, illuminating the parts of his brain being used in real time. This creates a feedback loop where Hart can create music with his brain while simultaneously reacting to the visuals on the screen. As well as being given a unique insight into the brain of the performer on stage, the system also provides a kind of light show for the spectator. The video below shows the musician explaining some of the ideas behind the project:

According to NPR, Hart was inspired to create the system after seeing the effect music had on his grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although the Superorganism tour is designed as an entertainment experiment, Hart believes the process has a stimulating effect on the brain and could play a part in musical therapy. As the technology improves, how else can EEG be used to manifest thoughts in different ways?

Spotted by: Murray Orange



Download PDF

Springwise Services:
Our expertise in spotting the latest innovations is the best resource to empower your team’s future planning.

Find out More