Greg Lewis, an assistant professor of intelligent systems engineering at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been honored with an Indiana University Bloomington Public Arts Project Grant for his project, “BCI/Amatria-WonderLab Partnership.”
The project will include public demonstrations of a brain-computer interface that will interact with the Amatria installation on the fourth floor of Luddy Hall. Users will be able to read about the BCI system and train the device while performing tasks such as mental arithmetic or resting. Following training, the system will interact with Amatria, which will respond to the mental state of the user. When the user starts doing math in their head, Amatria will play music or vibrate in a specific way. When the user stops performing mental math, Amatria will change behavior.
“The award is a tangible demonstration of IU’s commitment to broadening participation in engineering,” Lewis said. “Through this award, my team hopes to share our passion for engineering and the arts with new audiences in the hopes that the students of tomorrow will see the full scope of opportunities available to them.”
In partnership with WonderLab, a Bloomington-based science museum, and theToronto-based Living Architecture Systems Group, Lewis and his team will deploy smaller scale versions of the experience to the larger community, and train middle-school teachers to use the platform for STEAM education in their classrooms. Kinsey-affiliated researcher Mike Winters was instrumental in developing the current BCI and establishing the interdisciplinary partnership, which also includes composers from the Jacobs School of Music.
“The teachers in this WonderLab-designed workshop would learn about the brain, BCIs in general, our specific BCI, and how to engage students with brain science, engineering, and artistic expression through technology,” Lewis said. “In the future, teachers would be able to work with us to reserve the equipment, offer the instruction material in their class, and run the demo themselves.”
The Indiana University Bloomington Public Arts Project Grant is worth $25,000. Applicants must partner with civic or other community organizations to plan and manage a research or creative project with academic as well as public deliverables. It is supported by IU’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Office of the Vice President for Research through the IU Presidential Arts and Humanities Program, and managed by the IU Bloomington Arts & Humanities Council.
“The blend of technological innovation and the arts can expand computing to a completely different audience and inspire adults and children alike about what is possible through technology,” said Kay Connelly, associate dean for research at the Luddy School. “Projects such as this are such a great example of intelligent systems engineering in practice and showcases the kinds of advancements that can be made in the real world.”