Extinguish a flame with your brain

Developed by Alessio Chierico, Trāṭaka is an interactive installation controlled by a brain-computer interface and an Atmel based Arduino.

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Derived from the Sanskrit term meaning “to look” or “to gaze,” Trāṭaka is a meditation technique which consists of staring at an external object, generally a black dot or flame. This fixed gazing stimulates the ājňā chakra, a point located in correspondence of the brain. According to the Hindu tradition, this chakra is one of the six main centers of vital energy, and it is considered as the eye of intuition and intellect.

According to the Maker, the installation is composed of a brain-computer interface capable of detecting a user’s brain waves and defining parameters, i.e. the level of attention. While wearing the BCI device, the user is encouraged to concentrate on a flame that is placed before them, with the goal of putting out the fire with incredible focus. In order to conquer this feat, the system detects the wearer’s level of meditation which simultaneously controls an air flow located under the flame — the higher the level, the greater the air flow. The flame will be magically extinguished once the utmost attention is achieved.

Whether it’s controlling robots, navigating a wheelchair or putting out a flame with your mind, this surely won’t be the last megaAVR powered BCI project we come across.

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