More selected projects

Still Waters Run Deep

This project is an indoor interactive installation, which mainly involves interaction, vision and sculpture. The data from headset controls other parts of the device to interact by collecting users' mind wave signals.

produced by: Xi Sun


My idea is to transform waves from brain wave to visual wave and water wave.

This work uses the mind wave Bluetooth transmission technology to collect mind wave data, then through Arduino and the processing to control the vibration motor and visual effect under the influence of brain wave data. The technical function of the installation are data collection and explicit display of mind wave changes. 

When the audience wears the headset, the audience can carefully feel their concentration and relaxation. Different EEG data will produce different interactive effects. The light of the device uses coated convex lens and LED lamp to create a gradual effect, and the water wave under the light mapping will give audience a relaxed and quiet atmosphere.

My interest is art installation and the visualization of personal feelings. I hopes that the audience will focus on feeling their own feelings and help the audience more clearly feel the brain activities that are difficult to visualize at daily time.

Concept and background research

Laura Jade's works inspired me. She made beautiful lighting installation combine with brain wave data. This made me decide to make devices because I felt the charm of the transformation from abstract brain waves to visible and tangible entities.

A game produced by Braintone Art using EEG data to generate images has aroused my interest in using EEG data to generate real-time images. What I want is not only generate a picture, but to continuously update.

According to the research I did, different part of mind wave data has different meaning:

δ Wave: 0.3-3.5 Hz represents sleep, fatigue and subconscious state

θ Wave: 4-7.5 Hz represents sleepiness, deep relaxation and subconscious state

α Wave: 8-13 Hz represents awake and quiet, which is the best state of learning and thinking

β Wave: 14-30 Hz represents thinking activity, busy and nervous

γ Wave: 30-80 Hz represents high-level cognitive activity and increased neuronal excitability

Based on these data meaning, I created different interactive functions for my project.

Fontana Di Trevi is located at the intersection of three streets in Rome, Italy, because there are three roads extending outward in front of the fountain, and the "Trevi Trevi" of Trevi Fountain means three fork roads, which is the origin of the name of the fountain. Wishing fountain is the last Baroque architectural masterpiece in Rome. It is the largest and most famous fountain in Rome. Therefore, it has become one of the symbols of Rome. The Romans have a beautiful legend. It is said that you can make three wishes by throwing a coin into the pool with your back to the fountain, but one of them must be "return to Rome again"(Fa ritorno a Roma).

This building inspired me to make the device part. I think in the pool I made, everything is controlled by the audience's brain waves, so people can make wishes and pray to their hearts. When the audience makes a wish seriously, the attention data will reach a certain value, which means that the audience is paying attention to their hearts, I want to use this scene to interact. I choose to use marbles instead of coins, and make the liquid in the pool opaque white. On the one hand, there is no restriction on the front and back of coins in Roman legend. As long as the audience's attention is focused enough, the pool will make a positive hint. On the other hand, white liquid can help keep the pure color, I hope that when the audience sees the pool, they will feel calm and pure, not splashed and messy.


For the image part, not only using EEG data to generate images, but also I use images to draw the real-time changes of brain waves. I hope to make image that the audience is willing to immerse themselves and stare at. In order to achieve this effect, I decided that all elements in the image are controlled or affected by the audience's brain waves and updated in real time

In the image part of my work, I use Delta, theta and alpha EEG data to convert RGB color elements respectively, and add the influence of mediation data to the image movement angle data, so as to achieve the effect that the image color in the picture comes from EEG, and the image movement is affected by EEG.

In the image, red represents sleep, fatigue and subconscious state, green represents sleepiness, deep relaxation and subconscious state, and blue is awake and quiet, which is the best state for learning and thinking. After the audience wears the headset, the screen will constantly refresh the picture according to the audience data received by the program.

As for the device, I use the data of attention, mediation, beta and gamma to control the movement of four servos. I transfer these four data from processing to Arduino, and then use them to control the start and stop of servos. The data of attention is used to control a box installed above the pool. When the value of attention reaches a certain value, The channel for throwing marbles on the box will be opened by servo, and the audience can throw marbles into the pool after paying attention, which is inspired by Fontana Di Trevi.

In the process of production and exploration, I initially used the EEG headset assembled by hand welding. I spent a lot of time to solve the problem of wireless data transmission. But I could only connect to the computer by wire to transmit data. However, this is the first time I received and observed the changes of EEG data, It helped me collect data. After that, I replaced a mature product, MindWave mobile2. Using this headset, I quickly realized wireless data transmission with Bluetooth.

After that, I used the vibration sensor, hoping it can be used in the pool to generate water waves. However, I replaced three kinds of vibration sensors, which failed to produce visible water waves, so I decided to use servos to stir the water to generate water waves.

In order to produce rich visual effects in the picture, I spent a lot of time processing the data controlling the color. Because everyone's data is very different, the initial color often quickly saturates into a solid color or changes little. By testing different data map ranges and adjusting the color transparency, I achieved the variety of colors, And make each audience get different colors and image.

Future development

In the production of this work, due to time constraints, I failed to change the color of the light according to the brain wave data, but simply used the signal strength to control the switch of the light. When the audience put on the headset, the light will turn on, and after the audience took off the headset, the light will turn off. I realized the light that can produce gradient color through the convex lens and coating principle, But I can't make better use of this structure to produce real-time changing lights. In the future, I hope to realize the lights that change color in real time with EEG data, and produce richer lighting visual effects in a larger space.

Self evaluation

Generally speaking, my project has basically realized the functions I want, and can interact with a large number of visitors in the exhibition, and has received positive feedback. However, due to the welding problem, my servos part can not operate well before the development. After solving the problem of poor contact, the servos returns to normal operation. However, due to the large flow of people at the exhibition site, servos started running intermittently on the last day, sometimes working and sometimes not. Bluetooth also became delayed, affecting the audience's experience.

I hope I can connect the servos wires more firmly and stably, and solve the delay problem after bluetooth runs for a long time.