The Brain Machine
Publisher: Maker Media, Inc
To the Moon February 2013
Final Release Date: September 2009
MoonRaker 007
Pages: 13
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Ride your own brain waves! You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to meditate, or a Sleeping Beauty tosleep well. Achieve these altered states of consciousness, and others, with this simple microcontroller device.

What would happen if you could play a recording of brain waves into someone's brain? It turns out that there are devices that can do this. Sound and Light Machines (SLMs) produce sound and light pulses at brain wave frequencies, which help people sleep, wake up, meditate, or experience whatever state of consciousness the machine is programmed for.

This article shows you how to build an SLM for much cheaper than you can buy one. We'll do it the easy way, by hacking a microcontroller project that already exists: Limor Fried's Mini-POV kit. This cool toy blinks pictures and words in the space you wave it through, and we can transform it into an SLM simply by changing the firmware and some minor hardware.

This project originally appeared on the pages of Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 10.

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O'Reilly MediaThe Brain Machine

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I'm seeing animated geometrical shapes with this device.

By Eric

from Tempe, AZ

About Me Designer, Developer, Maker


  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Very Inepensive
  • Well-written


  • You Need Solder And Drill

Best Uses

  • Expert
  • Intermediate
  • Meditation
  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about O'Reilly Media The Brain Machine:

I purchased a kit from MakerShed for $30 and spent about 2 to 3 hours putting it together. I messed up some stuff because I did NOT read the instructions thoroughly. And, even so, it ended up working GREAT!!!

I have used it about 10 times by now and have let others try it. Everyone is amazed and blown away by it. The sounds and the lights work together to create really great effects.

I do my breath mediation while wearing this and it gets enhanced.

I just ordered another kit to build and give/sell to someone else.

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