Our process took place in four phases that combined science, technology, design and art.
In this phase, we learned about the brain, perception and music. This helped us gain an initial understanding of the possibilities within our project. We were very lucky to have the chance of learning directly from professionals in the field. Dr. Elizabeth Losin a University of Miami Professor of Psychology talked to us about the brain, helping us to gain an understanding of how the brain functions. Pablo Currea a FIU Ph.D. student explained what perception is and gave us some intriguing examples of synesthesia. Our last speaker, filmmaker Jonathan David Kane gave us insight into the topic of non-linear storytelling.
After absorbing the information presented to us, we took our new knowledge and began diving deeper into our research conducting studies ourselves using available EEG technology. Once we felt we had a substantial base of knowledge regarding these topics we began to explore the possibilities of our project.
This phase went hand in hand with creation as we needed to test the tools available to us to design an experience that would show how the brain reacts to music. We chose to use OpenBCI technology. We 3D printed an EEG headset and hacked the software to experiment with different designs and explore our possibilities. With the OpenBCI software and headset, we were able to gather data from musicians and non-musicians. After collecting this data, we observed the information and decided what data we would use to create the visualization presented to the audience in the experience.
Now that we knew what technology we had available and its limitations, we began designing concepts. We spent time brainstorming which allowed us to think through many ideas of what the experience could be and narrow them down. We broke into groups and we pitched ideas to each other. We then combined different elements of each pitch into one concept were all passionate about. While lengthy and at times frustrating, this process was essential in developing the experience.
After we decided on the concept that we were all passionate about we realized we were still missing an ingredient that would make our experience successful. At this point, we understood that art was the language that could successfully communicate to the audience how a brain reacts to music. Art added color to our concept.