Noah Ruede – Journals

Tunewave: Journal Entry #1

           This week I have put my thoughts together for my pre-proposal, and have decided to call my invention the Tunewave.  I’m at once both excited and nervous about this project.  Obviously, my inspiration came from an idea about which I’m excited.  It would be a dream of mine to have access to a device the likes of which I plan to propose.  At the same time, I can hardly wrap my head around what it would take to make my invention a reality.  I definitely have my work cut out for me in terms of researching the relevant technologies involved.  So far I know I’ll need to look into EEG’s and how they work- I’m frankly for the most part ignorant as to the processes involved.  Hopefully it won’t be impossible for me to achieve at least a basic understanding.

Tunewave: Journal Entry #2

           I have just completed researching for and writing my midterm paper, and the ways I felt in my previous entry have been amplified.  For one, getting a clearer picture of the landscape of current technology and where it’s headed is intrinsically exciting, and some aspects of my invention don’t seem quite as far off or implausible as they once did.  At the same time, as I delved further into my research, I quickly found myself getting overwhelmed at the sheer volume of both the information and the ambiguity that the many years of development and research have given us.

Interestingly enough, EEG’s have only been used for one music-related application I could find: Erkki Kurenniemi’s “DIMI-T.”  Even this is barely applicable, as all it did was take rudimentary readings of neural electrical activity and translate them into tones.  My research has consisted mostly of studying the history of EEG’s, how they function and what applications electroencephalography has been used for.  That alone was enough to intimidate me; there is simply too much information that I don’t understand, so parsing through it to get a clear picture has been a massive challenge.

To make my final deliverables as realistic and authentic as possible would mean years of education and study in neurology and information technology; “catching up” with where science currently stands.   My challenge from this point forward would be to obtain a firm understanding of the basics.  Even that will undoubtedly prove to be very trying.

Tunewave: Journal Entry #3

           I have presented my midterm and am beginning work on my patent application summary.  Just by giving my presentation, I have achieved a greater sense of clarity and purpose to what I’m seeking to achieve.  Some say the best way to learn is to teach.  By being forced to lay out my ideas and my research in a way that makes sense and is easily digestible has in fact allowed me to further digest the information myself.  Professor Baker’s suggestions were also extremely helpful; he gave me a few things to look into which could definitely be of use—namely the possible utility of fMRI for the purposes of my invention.  I had originally passed over fMRI in favor of EEG, dismissing it as having purposes relatively irrelevant to my project.  The direction in which he has pointed me has shown me that is not the case, and really gives me more room to work with.  In addition, piecing together my patent application summary has helped motivate me further, reminding me why it is that this technology is so unique and potentially (but almost undoubtedly) revolutionary.

Tunewave: Journal Entry #4

    As I’ve begun the planning my deliverables, I’ve already hit a roadblock.  I was planning on creating an interaction diagram as one of my deliverables, but I’ve found that these diagrams aren’t what I thought they were.  As it turns out, interaction diagrams are digital graphics created through a coding language called UML, or Unified Modeling Language.  It’s used as a universal standard for design and blueprint generation, showing the various interactions between components of a system.  Seeing as it isn’t really feasible for me to learn the language and the in-and-outs of it’s applications, I’m going to need to find a new way to develop a diagram which illustrates how the Tunewave is used in a given user case.  I’ve started by drawing it out by hand, but eventually I intend to digitize them.  The final result depends on whether I decide to create a digital pamphlet or a physical one.  I’d assume I’ll reach that decision once I have a better grasp on the logistics of the deliverables of which it will be comprised.


Tunewave: Journal Entry #5

    As I prepare for my final paper, I have delved into researching the structure and functions of the brain in relation to the interpretation and creation of music.  I’ve avoided doing it up to this point; attempting to understand the medical and scientific terminology is a daunting task.  After hours of researching, reading and re-reading relevant materials, I finally feel as if I have a better grasp on the subject.  It seems the most relevant region of the brain is the Primary Auditory Cortex, which is located in the Temporal Lobe.  The PAC is responsible for processing sound, and it’s structure is outright fascinating.  Neurons are grouped by the specific frequencies they interpret; the neurons get excited by sounds of the frequencies for which they are responsible, or multiples of that frequency.  There are also groups responsible for interpreting harmony, timing and pitch.

    Another fascinating concept is the brain’s process of what’s called “musical imagery,” which is the experience of replaying music by imagining it inside one’s head.  Research has shown the the brain naturally extrapolates expectations for where the music is going.  What’s most astounding is that these extrapolations are consistent with music theory (!).

Tunewave: Journal Entry #6

    After having submitted my final paper, I am now in the process of realizing my deliverables.  As it turns out, I’m not as talented an artist as I thought (or perhaps I’m just very rusty).  I attempted to draw how I imagined the Tunewave headset to look like, and upon scanning the drawing was not impressed with the outcome.  This was a significant setback, but it turned out to be a good thing.  I opened up the scanned image with Adobe Illustrator (which I have used only once), and after laboriously putzing around with the thing, managed to recreate a far more professional-looking and detailed model of the original drawing.  I’m actually pretty pleased with it.

    I had intended to create a presentation from the beginning, as well as an interaction diagram or map of how the device works.  What I’ve ultimately decided to do was to incorporate this map into my presentation by using Prezi.  Prezi affords me the opportunity to visually link images and concepts.  This way, rather than my presentation being disjointed, comprised of separate components, I am instead able to integrate the interaction map into the overall presentation.  As there’s a lot of information to present, keeping the right amount of detail has been challenging but interesting.  As I wrap things up, I’m excited to present my findings.

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