Published in Issue Nr. 3
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Glass Brain


Neuroscape’s Core team sees immense value in working with artists, musicians and film-makers to integrate our technologies and research findings in the creation of unique artistic expressions that highlight the natural beauty and wonder of the brain.

The Neuroscape Arts Program features exceptional collaborations that take place at the intersection of data processing, interactive media, art and design. Our recent projects have focused on recordings of brain structure and activity to generate aesthetically-rendered visualizations / sonifications. Notably, the GlassBrain – our award-winning, 3D-brain visualization – has captured the imagination of multiple artists, museums and film makers for both its aesthetic appeal and scientifically-valid representation of the brain.

Technical explanation:

This is an anatomically-realistic 3D brain visualization depicting real-time source-localized activity (power and “effective” connectivity) from EEG (electroencephalographic) signals. Each color represents source power and connectivity in a different frequency band (theta, alpha, beta, gamma) and the golden lines are white matter anatomical fiber tracts. Estimated information transfer between brain regions is visualized as pulses of light flowing along the fiber tracts connecting the regions.

The modeling pipeline includes MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain scanning to generate a high-resolution 3D model of an individual’s brain, skull, and scalp tissue, DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) for reconstructing white matter tracts, and BCILAB / SIFT to remove artifacts and statistically reconstruct the locations and dynamics (amplitude and multivariate Granger-causal interactions) of multiple sources of activity inside the brain from signals measured at electrodes on the scalp (in this demo, a 64-channel “wet” mobile system by Cognionics / BrainVision.

The final visualization is done in Unity3D and allows the user to fly around and through the brain with a gamepad while seeing real-time live brain activity from someone wearing an EEG cap.

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