Why Not Wear a Scarf With Your Brainwave Knitted Into It?

NeuroKnitting is a project from Varvara Guljajeva , Mar Canet, and Sebastian Mealla which translates the brainwaves generated from listening to music into a knitting pattern that we can wear around our necks.

Guljajeva and Canet are artists that have been working on an “open hardware” knitting machine, which they combined with PhD candidate Maella’s work in brain and body signals for multimodal interaction. Here’s how they made this project work:

Using a wearable, non-invasive EEG headset, we recorded users’ affective states while listening to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”, concretely the aria and its first seven variations. The audio was about 10 minutes long and we downsampled each second of the signal coming from the 14 channels of the EEG device. Three main features were measured: relaxation, excitement, and cognitive load. After recording, those features were converted into a knitting pattern. Hence, every stitch of a pattern corresponds to a unique brain state stimulated by the act of listening. It means the user’s affective response to music is captured every second and memorised in the knitted garment pattern.

Concerning the selected music, the first case study uses Bach’s Goldberg Variations as a stimuli for the users. After the statement of an aria at the beginning of the piece, there are thirty variations, from which we took the first seven. The variations do not follow the melody of the aria, but rather use its bass line and chord progression. The EEG correlate of relaxation, engagement and cognitive load was recorded while the users were listening to the musical pieces. This information was later sent to the Knitic framework to create a bicolor pattern for knitting.


The resulting pattern was then knitted into a scarf using Guljajeva and Canet’s machine.

[via Laughing Squid]

Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.

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