Hack the Brain 2014: hackers hack brains

Hack the Brain 2014: hackers hack brains

Press release, 25-05-2014

Press release, 25-05-2014
Author: Martijn Arts

Will it be possible for us to replay our dreams in the future? Are you going to be looking for your future partner online based on the results of a brain scan? Could you remotely make use of someone’s gift for maths? Or are we going to link our brains to one another to create one intuitive ‘super brain’?

During the Hack the Brain event, experts came together – for the first time ever in Europe – to experiment with the concept of ‘DIY brain hacking’. Waag Society, Total Active Media, Donders Institute and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO saw a tremendous opportunity and organised a boot camp, debate and pitch session. From 23 to 25 May, hackers, scientists and artists, grouped into ten teams and with the aid of brain hacking, advanced not only brain science but also our general knowledge of the brain. They researched how matters can be placed in the brain, what can come out of it and how technology can be used to link brains together to form one super brain.

In the days of Rembrandt we explored the body, now we explore the mind.


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Hack the Brain #1

Hack the Brain #2

The best brain hacks

The winner of the hack-a-thon promises that people will be able to consciously experience and affect their dreams. On Sunday 25 May a professional jury, chaired by Jason Farquhar of the Donders Institute, awarded 1000 euros and 4 Muse EEG headbands to the best hack. The winning concept came for the Lucid Dreaming team; they developed a system that generates lucid dreams. Throughout the process, dreamers are aware that they are dreaming.
By applying small electrical currents to the brain, they are able to affect the brain activity that occurs during the dream state. Meanwhile, the same brain activity is being measured with an EEG device. ‘In the future, for instance, therapists could use this method to be able to communicate with people that are daydreaming,’ so states Lisa Rombout, neuroscientist and member of the winning team. The other members of the Lucid Dreaming team were Ot de Wiljes (neuroscientist and programmer), Arjen Suijker (Media and Technology student) and Dennis Luijer (Designer).

The background

Thanks to new technology plus software and hardware that are easily available, neuroscience – and our knowledge of the brain – is becoming increasingly more accessible. In the tradition of The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt, the Waag weigh house in Amsterdam was the nerve centre for forty brain hackers throughout an entire weekend. Included in the programme was a public debate with various personalities, including writer Arnon Grunberg, philosopher Désanne van Brederode, scientist Pim Haselager and neuromarketer Victor Lamme. They shared their hope, fears and expectations in the area of the democratisation of access to the brain. 

Hack the Brain is an annual event. Founding partners are Waag Society & Total Active Media. Partners are the Donders Institute of Radboud University Nijmegen and TNO. Hack the Brain 2014 was sponsored by BrainGain, ClickNL, the City of Amsterdam, Interaxon, Jonas Vorwerk, Neurensics, Creative Industries Fund NL, TMSI, VicarVision and Wirelab.

Hack the brain fotos
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More about 'Hack the brain', please contact: 

Martijn Arts

Managing director, Total Active Media
T +31 20 750 94 25