Once I had the ears mounted, it was time to design the animation. In order to do that, I first had to simulate the input from the MindWave headset, since that is what would control the animation in production.

The MindWave EEG headset sends a number of variables via serial: a value for each brainwave type (alpha, beta, gamma, etc.), and two “interpreted” variables, which are composited from the raw brainwave measurements by the TGAM chip embedded in the headset.

These values are “Attention”, and “Meditation”. Each is an integer value from 0 to 100. 

Attention is a measure of focus. The more you concentrate, the higher the variable. 

Meditation is a measure of mental relaxation. Calm your mind, and the variable value increases.

The two variables work together: it is possible to have a very high attention along with a high meditation value. 

For the purposes of this experimental project, I chose to focus on animating the ears based on attention. So I put together a breadboard circuit (shown below) with a potentiometer attached to the Arduino’s analog input, which returned a variable ranging from 0 to 1023. I used the map() function to scale that from 1 to 100, and stored that as my attention variable. 

So, by turning the knob on my breadboard, I could simulate the input from a MindWave EEG headset, and start writing code to animate the movement of the ears based on that input. 

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β€œSimplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching