Algorithm Nation: Tech Tools Pointing to Music’s Future

Over the past 12 weeks, our team participated in the NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge alongside three other startups and university teams to come up with new approaches to music creation and interaction with fans. This challenge was a major step forward for our company as we began researching and developing our proof-of-concept.

Our main focus during the challenge was to  understand how the brain works when thinking of a certain sound or timbre, and implementing a simple interface that would determine what sound a participant was listening to through EEG signals with the EMOTIV EPOC X. We tested our initial model by having volunteers listen to one of the four basic sound waves (sine wave, square wave, sawtooth wave, and square wave) and then think of it to see if the computer is able to recreate that sound.

Woman wearing EMOTIV EPOC X with EEG signals being streamed and a sound wave generator
Volunteer wearing the EMOTIV EPOC X while listening to and imagining a sawtooth wave.

We began by researching potential approaches to collecting EEG signals from participants using the OpenBCI headband which sent 4 channels to their GUI. We used blinks, eye movements and jaw clenches to trigger one of the four basic sound waves. However, we soon realized that 4 channels wasn't enough to produce enough reliable information, so we pivoted to using the EMOTIV EPOC X and EMOTIV PRO software. We re-designed our experiment and were able to produce a working demo, which we presented at the ASCAP Experience on August 12, 2021.

The Immersive Music Studio Challenge was a launchpad for our development and allowed us to receive valuable feedback from the ASCAP mentors. Since the challenge, we've been featured in TechCrunch, Music Ally, and have had overwhelming support and interest from the music community. We're very excited to begin our next stage of R&D where we'll be refining our data acquisition method and conducting preliminary trials for our prototype. If you're interested in participating in our Alpha Testing, please fill out our contact form.

Read more about the NYC Media Lab & ASCAP Immersive Music Studio Challenge here.

Watch our first public demo which was live streamed on August 12, 2021 as part of the ASCAP Experience.

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