This is your brain on Pi

We’ve only just spotted Mens Amplio, an Indiegogo project which met its target last month. It’s now being put together for the Burning Man festival, where it’ll be displayed in a couple of weeks. Mens Amplio is a fifteen-foot tall, Pi-controlled sculpture: a part-buried, giant human head made from an enormous mesh of steel. And inside, there’s a brain packed full of Endlighten acrylic rods for its neuron branches, which diffuse light from LEDs along their length.

Those lights are controlled by the brainwaves of a test subject volunteer wearing an EEG headset, changing shape and colour depending on the user’s thoughts, as interpreted by the Raspberry Pi; the eventual result is being engineered to mirror what you’d see on an MRI scan. You can read more about the work they’re doing to light up that giant brain on the Mens Amplio blog (it’s worth digging deep; this is a really interesting build), and keep up with the current state of the code they’re using on Github.

Braaaaaains.

Flames, also controlled by the Raspberry Pi, will be shooting out of the top of the thing.

The Mens Amplio team is made up of people from all the backgrounds you’d need for this sort of thing: doctors, welders, graphic designers, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s researchers, electronics engineers, brain imaging specialists, kinetic fire artists – here they are, in the video produced for their (now completed) Indiegogo fundraiser.

If you see Mens Amplio at Burning Man this year, be sure to take some video and send it to us. Best of luck to the ladies and gents of the Mens Amplio crew – we hope you have a blast on the Playa!

Know about an art project using a Pi that you think we’d be interested in?

Please tell us about it: while the hacker community is never backwards about coming forward, we’ve found that artists are curiously shy about approaching us when they’re using a Raspberry Pi, and we often learn about the Pi component of art projects like Mens Amplio too late to put the word out about fundraising or exhibitions. Rachel, our Artist in Residence, is busy doing artist and kids outreach, and we’ve got projects running with the UK Arts Council to introduce the Pi to young artists. We know there’s much, much more out there, but we need you to tell us about it. If you’ve seen something you think we should blog about, you can reach me at the usual address.

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