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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Making Music from fMRI

I've just come across the brilliant work of Dan Lloyd, a philosopher and neuroscientist who's turned fMRI data into music-like sounds:

More videos can be found here. Lloyd doesn't seem to have written or published anything about it yet, but I'm sure that's in the works.

Traditionally, fMRI data is shown as a pattern of colored patches overlayed on a picture on the brain. This emphasizes the spatial, where of the neural activity. But it glosses over the fact that there is also a temporal, when side to it.

Listening to Lloyd's soundscapes, the ever-changing nature of the neural signal is very obvious. Some of the variation over time is just random noise, of course. But some of it represents real, ongoing changes in brain activity. So while turning neuroimaging data into music is undeniably cool, it could also be a more useful way of presenting the data for some purposes.

Via New Scientist, Eavesdropping on the Music of the Brain.

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