Project 3: [Reflektiv]

Reflektiv is experiential installation that translates a users’ attention and meditation levels into ambient sound and scents, as well as triggering memory wire embedded into a fabricated blooming flower. We were interested in our a user’s private space, such as his or her bedroom or home office could serve as an extension of the body from the transformation of a proximate spatial arena where his or her respective mental states can be experienced.

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Reflektiv reads the users’ mental state with the EEG brain monitor made by NeuroSky. Due to the limitations of this consumer products (4 node input) we only can get Processing to read the levels associated with focus and mediation and converting them into mapped numbers, which are then fed into an Arduino equipped with an MP3 shield, which plays one of three audio tracks: 1) attention 2) mediation 3) random neutral idle track. To be able to get more refined live data out of an EEG, the next step would be a 20+ node devices, which would take an hour to mount and dismount to the user, and clearly this isn’t a sustainable route to take. Processing reads the last 1000 mental states (about 20 seconds) of the EEG and based on that live data, the installation which features 2 hacked Glade scent sprayers and the memory wire blooming flower. If the user has been holding an attentive state of some time, a citrus scent (more lively) will be sprayed along with an audio track that features a sharp-sounding wind chime. If the state is more meditative, a lavender scent (more calm) is sprayed along with a slow sounding track that features water drops. A singular flower made of felt is embedded with memory wire in two opposite petals, and blooms with both mental state inputs. The “garden-like” installation is situation on top of a wooden tray, and the Glade sprayers (2), speakers (2), and flower (1) are will covered with leather. The electronics enclosure that holds the breadboard, Arduino and MP3 shield sits in a rubbermaid container and will covered with felt and feather.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 9.40.52 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 9.40.49 PMNote on memory wire: this material and super hard to work with and quite unpredictable. It simply contracts when heated in any which way. The key is to anchor it so when the movements of its reactions are limited, or to expose the wire and include its unpredictable nature into the concept of your project from the start.

Note on NeuroSky EEG: the device is quite noisy, and hard to control. We knew about the limitations of this device from the start which is why we went for a more artistic experiential concept, and included a degree of randomness into its output. The attention and meditation levels are sometimes related and sometimes not, and the Muse from Interaxon has actually combined these two states into one scale dubbed “the zone”. Click here or the logo above to watch the narrative video.

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