Brainscan Headdress #1 (BSH #1)

Inspired by the exquisite neural activities revealed by magnetic resonance imaging, Charlie Murphy initially conceived the prototype Brainscan Headdress (#1) as a performative prop for a participatory event she developed with dementia research scientist Professor Selina Wray during their residency with Created Out of Mind at Wellcome (London 2016-18).

This first prototype used colour changing LED circuits (created by Sam Sharif) to illuminate fibre optic harnesses distributed across the surface of an adapted bicycle helmet. These helmets were used as educational tools and costume props for Murphy + Wray’s Neuronal Disco –a movement and dance event designed to body principles of dementia research.

#1 demonstrated an effective, decorative simulation of brain activity through colourful waving fronds of fibre optics- she source LED’s were programmed to illuminate in concert with each other or to follow individual light patterns. This first prototype effectively demonstrated how different colours could be powerfully used to visualise brain activities.

‘Wearing each other’s thoughts’ protoype developed during BR41N.IO Brain Hackathon 2020

Brainscan Headdress #2 (BSH #2 )

Subsequent research and recemt collaborations with engineer Robin Bussell exploring live and responsive capacities demonstrate exciting and engaging tools through which different neurological activities, disorders and diseases may be visualised and expressed. Our trials connecting live neurological activity feeds from ‘off the shelf’ brain portable EEG headsets (Neurosky hacked Jedi Trainer headset) to programmable arrays of LEDs (to illuminate the fibre optics harnesses) have delivered exciting outcomes and demonstrated great potentials for further exploration.

Robin and Charlie won 3rd prize for their ‘Wearing each other’s thoughts’ presentation at Arse Electronica 2020’s BR41N.IO Brain Hackathon.. This was trial iteration which demonstrated the potential for dialogue around the brain and mental health as an integral aspect of the headdress design.

You can see further documentation of the making process on @thephotonicexcitors on Instagram