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Using your brain to create art, literally

(Credit: Ion Popian)

(Credit: Ion Popian)

3D printers are finding practical uses in all parts of life, from toys to food. But artist Ion Popian is using more than just his mind to work with the printers, literally combining his brain with the technology. Using both EEG monitors and a 3D printer, Popian is creating innovative and unique new art pieces with his brain waves in a project called Mental Fabrications.

Typically, a brain scan turns out a paper graph showing the peaks and drops of the brains signal during the scan. The project uses a Neurosky headset, similar to headsets developed to detect epilepsy and monitor coma patients, which receives the signals of the alpha waves of the brain. Popian uses videos to incite specific emotions during the scan, such as calmness and concentration, to alter the shape of the waves. The project works with these scans, turning them into 2.5 foot long sculptures showing the dimpling and bumps of the brains activity during the brain scan. Combining this tech with visual programming, 3D figures are created based on the brains behavior.

Turning this typically 2D data into 3D sculptures is an artistic venture for Popian, but it is a step towards a use for these technologies for the average customer. Though these brain signals typically aren’t stable enough for the brain controlled devices that are trying to find their way into consumer markets, the alpha wave signals may be the answer. Showing that the alpha wave signals can turned into tangible forms, the project has shown that there may be a use in everyday life for the EEG scanners and 3D printing, through a more artistic approach than taken before.


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