Hi, I’m Makayla and I am a rising junior at Newark Collegiate Academy. For my main project I decided to make an RC car controlled by mindwaves using an EEG headset. This project is based off of a prior bluestamp student’s link. I wanted to do this project because I’m very interested in how the brain works and mindwaves are a big part of that.
Bluestamp has been one of the best experiences of my life. In this society, we are taught to succeed we just have to do what we are told. We accept this thinking because it is enforced. At Bluestamp, I learned how to think like an engineer. I learned how to identify problems and solve them on my own. I learned to trust myself and my abilities. This is a powerful thing because when you look like me the world is a place that makes you constantly question your abilities. Bluestamp taught me that no matter what the world thinks, to know what I am capable of.
I was able to make my EEG headset control my RC car.EEG stands for electroencephalogram. This in it’s base form is a measurement of electrical activity from brain activity. The least invasive way to do this is with an EEG headset like a NeuroSky, Mindflex, or Star Wars The Force toy. The electrode to measure is put on a place with easy access to the brain without being inside of you or forcing you to cut off your hair, your forehead. From there it is able to read the voltage of all types of brain waves. (More on that later.)
Starting off, I knew that I had to open the mindflex and the remote control for the car so that I could get a good sense of what I was working with. When the mindflex worked correctly I had to download the code from the brain library of arduino. The code has a CSV function that makes the computer read the values from the mindflex. These are the values that represent the measurement of the different voltages.( In the way that they show up on the serial monitor: signal quality, attention, meditation, delta, theta, low alpha, high alpha, low beta, high beta, low gamma, and high gamma.)
When I got the data on the mindflex working, I had to work on the car.I learned that the car was a digital device, this made it a little easier. I had to find the joints that would work the best an solder them so that I could plug it into the arduino board.From there I coded using if and else statements incorporating the data from the serial monitor so that I could direct the arduino what to do. I set the signal quality-the first number-to 25 . When you focus, the numbers go down.The optimal number for focus is 25. I coded so that when the signal quality is 25 or lower, the output of the forward pin plugged into the arduino would go high. This makes it go forward. When it is above, the forward pin would go low making the car stop.