London, Sep 13: Scientists have developed a new brain-computer interface application which allows music to be composed by the power of thought. Brain-computer interfaces, known as BCI, can replace bodily functions to a certain degree, researchers said.
Physically impaired persons can control special prostheses through the power of their minds, surf in internet and write emails with the help of BCI, they said. Researchers from Graz University of Technology in Austria show experiences of quite a different tone can be sounded from the keys of BCI more accurately.
The team has developed a new application by which music can be composed and transferred onto a musical score - just through the power of thought. All that is required is a special cap which measures brain waves, the adapted BCI, a software for composing music, and a bit of musical knowledge, they said.
Researchers used the basic principle of the BCI method, which is called P300. It involves various options, such as letters or notes, pauses, chords, etc flashing by one after the other in a table.
If the person is trained and can focus on the desired option while it lights up, it causes a minute change in the brain waves. The BCI recognises this change and draws conclusions about the chosen option.
Researchers asked 18 people to "think" melodies. All test subjects were of sound bodily health during the study and had a certain degree of basic musical and compositional knowledge since they all played musical instruments to some degree.
"The results of the BCI compositions can really be heard. The test persons enjoyed it. After a short training session, all of them could start composing and seeing their melodies on the score and then play them," said Gernot Muller-Putz from Graz University of Technology.
"The very positive results of the study with bodily healthy test persons are the first step in a possible expansion of the BCI composition to patients," Muller-Putz added. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.