Brain Storm

The Brain Storm project is a Fantail Studios project which is currently in development. Working in collaboration with KEDRI, we are working on a interactive installation which will allow the audience observe the inner workings of brains, with the goal of having a live feedback loop. Using data provided by KEDRI from NeuCube, we are working on creating an educational and informative installation, which is both true to the science of the brain, while still capturing the audience in a breathtakingly immersive environment. We are working on fostering a potential partnership with the Auckland Stardome Observatory, as the Stardome would be a great place to have the Brain Storm installation installed, due to some of the similarities between the human brain and the solar system such as Neurons and Stars. 

Fantail Studios Progress Report Document

Model of the brain - data provided by KEDRI

This model is still in the early stages of development. Currently, we are reading data provided by KEDRI. Here, we are reading data from a CSV file containing the location (using x, y, z coordinates) and information about where in the brain each neuron is. In the video, each sphere represents a neuron. Work is being done on the most effective way of illustrating where each neuron sits in the brain, for example the Temporal Lobe, the Middle Temporal Gyrus, and the Brodmann are 22. Obviously, the viewer doesn't need to know all this information at any given time, however this information still needs to be available with ease. The viewer probably does not even understand what many of these terms are, so we are looking at different ways of visualising this data. 

In the near future, we will be getting more data from KEDRI, containing the connections between the neurons. This is where the model becomes really exciting, as we will be able to show what happens when specific neurons are fired, and how they effect the other neurons in the area, and the entire brain. 

Concept Images for Potential Installations

These are some potential installation spaces that we could utilise for Brain Storm, as illustrated by Ryan Caddell. Some have been inspired by other works we've observed that would work well for an installation like ours. Others have been inspired and developed from past projects, and potential installation spaces that might be available to us. 

Installation Inspiration

Fisher Technical Services - Kinetic Sculpture

This installation involved the creation of a grid of 1008 spheres suspended from the ceiling on a system of micro winches. By altering the height of the spheres in synchronization with each other, dynamic patterns and waveforms were created.

The use of large quantities of ‘nodes’ in sync could easily apply to the network of neurons and synaptic connections present in the functional model brain.


BBDOproximity Berin's - Tree Concert

Created at the carpet of a giant Chestnut tree in Berlin, Germany, BBDO constructed a base of irregular geometric polygons. Each face of this construction was mapped to a musical note.

As nuts fell and hit the construct, the green polymer membrane produced light and sound from the physical stimuli. As a result patterns of noise were formed and the ‘Tree Concert’ played, with an accompanying light show.

The installation was created to raise awareness for the dwindling tree population in Germany. Its was erected in September 2012 and is still present in Berlin today (04.04.12)


Sonia Falcone's - Biennalle Installation

This installation utilized a simple projection of a wall of individual rectangle frames arranged at staggered heights along a horizontal axis. The individual frames pattern changed depending on the content being displayed, but could also work in unison with each other to essentially create one large display.

The wall was met on both sides by mirrors, which gave the illusion that the installation travelled in both directions as far as the eye could see. This technique essentially made the projection on the wall look like an infinite amount of space to be projected on, and when displaying the individual frames, made it seem as though there was an infinite amount.

This approach offers interesting opportunities as far as extending the initial 14-channel input to show the extent of the neural network being depicted. The idea of directly showing 14 channels, but indirectly showing the entire network is exciting and could easily engage a crowd with dynamic visuals. Could a formula be developed to tie the relationship of the 14 channels to the infinite mirrored images?


Ken Leung's - Brainwave Visualizations

his project similar to our own used brainwaves from a Neurosky brain-computer interface fed into a processing sketch, which in turn produced time based depictions of the activity of the brain.

The data was mapped against time and visualized as a network of branches, the magnitude of each representing a specific wavelength segment.

 Biomapping - Brainwave Visualisations 

Biomapping - Brainwave Visualisations 

This shows the interesting alternative visuals, which can be painted by the data rceived from the NeuCube data. An exploration of other ways to depict the brain activity as well as spins on the traditional cluster visual associated with the network, paired with a large canvas with which to paint the picture on screen, could produce some immensely engaging and interesting results.