“Hack the Brain Prague Hackathon” (HBPH 2016) has the specific aim of supporting co-operation between artists and scientists in BNCI (Brain/Neural Computer Interaction) related projects. The participants will work together in multidisciplinary teams on projects which they have chosen for themselves. During three days of intensive collaborative work they will be encouraged and supported to explore the possibilities and to find novel applications of BNCI systems. We welcome applications from anyone with a neuroscientific or artistic background. It will be an opportunity for you to learn something new about art or the human brain, learn something about yourself, acquire new technical skills and approaches, and also to meet new colleagues. The hackathon's project based approach is designed to stimulate your imagination and expand ywour horizons. Join us and contribute to the success of this hackathon!

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WHERE

The event will be held in the beautiful and inspiring premises of this 19th century theatre hall, in the Prague district of Žižkov. The venue for most of the year works like a theatre. Three young theatre companies regularly feature plays and performances there . Venuše ve Švehlovce will definitely provide inspirational and creative ambience for our event.You can find student residence above the theatre premises in the same building, that will offer budget accommodation for hackathon participants. Economic vegan cuisine will be available at the premises throughout the event too, so there will be nothing that would prevent you from concentrating on your project.

WHO IS IT FOR

The developers, artists, researchers, coders, data miners… Basically it is for everyone interested in the human brain and its signals. It is for everybody with some skills to share, with a will to get to know new people with their own worldview, methodologies, strategies, skills and working instruments; for everyone willing to get outside of their comfort zone, participate in team work and try pinpointing the way to something …, well, to Something.

About

THIS YEAR TOPIC WILL BE...

Extending the Mind: New horizons for art and science

Our mission is to explore the possibilities and limitations of Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) as a mind extending tool. Where does the possibility of instant online visualization of brain activity take us as creative people? What novel aspects can it bring to our work, whether our primary interests lie in the fields of art or science? Can we create a new space in between fields, a space where we can build new understandings of human brain signals? Our hackathon’s aim is to uncover a way of deciphering these complex questions. In order to do so, we have to get together people from distinct professional fields and diverse cultural ambiences. They will share their knowledge and enthusiasm, enrich each other style of work, interconnect and collaborate - to extend our horizons.

SEE THE SUGGESTED TOPICS >

To get a feel of what you could work on during the hackathon, here are several examples of projects proposed by our organizational team. If one of these projects resonates with you, please state your interest in the registration form when you apply for participation. However, there will be no limits put on your imagination, so if you would like to instigate a project of your own choice, our team will be very happy to support you.
Reading positive and negative emotions in real time
Frontal alpha asymmetry is being used as an EEG correlate of emotional reaction to the stimuli. The goal of this project would be to develop a real-time emotion classification neurofeedback (using static stimuli presentation) based on a frontal alpha asymmetry paradigm.
Quadrophonic sonification of EEG signals
The sonification of data, including brain signals measured using an EEG device, has been increasingly prominent during the last decade. Listening to the data, opposed to the more common visual approach, can accelarate the process of establishing a neurological diagnosis (e.g. epilepsy), or it can offer an alternative and possibly inspiring "view" of brain data for researchers. The project will consist of developing software and a hardware solution for simultaneous sonification of 4 separate EEG channels using various sound exciters set throughout the space - combining an unique acoustic experience with an innovative, highly customizable approach to EEG data analysis.
Kinetic sculpture mimicking movements of organic life forms 
The kinetic sculpture would mimick movements of organic life forms by means of interpreting the EEG correlates of concentration. By employing a number of solenoid valves, a moving sculpture composed of tire tubes will form primitive muscle movements. The movement of this organic structure will be directed by the EEG of a person interacting with the object in real time.
Brain to Brain communication using EEG translated into sound
Translation of selected EEG correlates of mental states into simple synthesized tones emitted through portable sound amplifiers. People wearing the portable amplifiers will be able to communicate their momentary state nonverbaly through listening to the sounds that are produced by other people around them. They will also be able to modulate their sounds in response.
Mind mirror
The brain activity source localization is a commonly used method in neuroscience which enables us to observe neural phenomena within the brain while using standard EEG equipment. Thanks to the mathematically elegant concept of Low Resolution Electro-magnetic Tomography (LORETA) it is possible to calculate the brain activations on-line (e.g. each millisecond). The aim is to connect a physical artistic interpretation of the human brain to its functional base. Our plan is to combine sculpting, video-mapping, and source localization techniques to construct an interactive installation.
Online visualisation of EEG dipoles in a 3D brain model
The goal of the project is to create a freeware alternative to 3D visualisation instruments like Glass brain. Free and accesible methods will be used to compute the source of activity (ICA, DIPFIT) and for its subsequent visualisation (Pycortex).
Neuro Cinema
Neuro Cinema project will merge the efforts of scientists and artists towards a long-term vision of brain-to-brain emotional communication using BNCI). In a technologically harnessed, "telepathic" way, people will gain a radical new means of neural emotional communication with others using music, sounds, videos and other multisensory bilateral messages. These project will merge estimations of functional and statistical inter-subject brain connectivity, as obtained from experiments within the recent framework of simultaneous recording of different subjects (hyperscanning), with biologically inspired computational modeling.
Where does our mind lie?
Where does our mind lie? Does it reside under our skull, and does the skull form its impermeable boundaries? Or is it so, that our minds do not fit into such a cage, and that they may extend much further? In fact, it seems that our cognitive processes reflect upon a vast majority of the external world, and therefore shape the reality we live in. First we think, then our visions slowly become reality. To think and envision, we are not limited to using only our brain and its amazing tools such as long term, short term and working memory, or the brain’s no less amazing skills such as mental imagery and creativity. Long ago we invented pen and paper (in some form) and we started to externalize and share all that amazing stuff that came to existence - from within our own skulls. We create, externalize and share, and that process speeds up the growth of our knowledge exponentially.
How does the potential of sharing information restrict our horizons?
Our topic seems pretty broad, said this way. Not so much if you consider the possibility that the questions are more like two sentences that determine the borders of the concept of extended mind as we understand it . These are just sentences that determine the space you will step into, by joining our hackathon. It gets clearer still, as you already may have noticed from the title of our hackathon, Hack the Brain, and as you might already know, our event is a part of a series of hackathons that share the same interest – interest in the human brain and its signals. We will therefore explore the validity of our two key questions in the small world created by people that work with the human brain and BCI systems. These are systems that allow us to take a sneak peek, however distorted, under the human skull. Put all these together, and where does it take us now?
The knowledge we got throughout our education and professional lives definitely makes us rich
It helps us do what we do. It also has this tendency to determine our thinking, the way we think about problems, the way we are trying to solve them. The ambience we live and work in has a key influence on our thinking and our work – people close to each other tend to influence each other in essential ways. Our ambience, be it the colleagues we meet everyday or our models and gurus we think about, both nurture us and both point the way our thoughts tend to take. It is both an enriching process, and a restrictive one – one can end up replicating the ideas one gets in touch with frequently. Because of this, it is important to leave one’s mental comfort zone from time to time, read a novel, go to a concert of a band one has never heard before, or perhaps join our hackathon! Form new connections. Sometimes it can be helpful to leave our knowledge and skills behind and try looking at our problem of choice through another optic – to use the knowledge and skills of someone from a different background, with different ambitions, education and methodology of work. So, do you feel like joining the event? Be it just for fun and horizon broadening and meeting new people, or, from a more serious point of view, undertaking it as a task. You will have the opportunity to explore ways of using a relatively new mind extension instrument, the BCI system, from your own original point of view - and a task to become the one node from your “small world ”, that will link the other nodes to new “small worlds” that you will discover.
 How do the tools we use to produce new concepts shape our consciousness/mind?
The tools we use definitely influence our thinking.
Our favorite musical instruments, or those that we have learned to use, determine the way we imagine music. In the same way our body structure determines the way that we perceive and shape the world around us. Imagine the world if we hadn’t developed a thumb… The instruments we use determine our future growth, our evolution. We want hackathon participants to take a closer look at an instrument we consider crucial for deepening our knowledge about the human brain – BCI systems using EEG signals. The participants of the HTBP2016 should explore what advantages work with BCI systems can offer to them personally and professionally, and where the usage of BCI systems can take them. Can the ability to read the EEG signal and process it online, in this instant, become a gamechanger (new pen and paper)? Can it push the way we think and work one step further? In which ways could we use it as a mind-extending tool?

How will it all work...

You join a team

Teams will be formed during the first day of the hackathon.

Every team should be multidisciplinary. In every team there should be someone who knows something about the human brain (preferably a researcher or student) accompanied by skilled people from other spheres (coding, art, …).

You collectively create a project concept

All projects have to address a topic related to the human brain and its activity monitoring. You will either work with an EEG device, which we will lend you for the duration of the project and we will provide a database of prerecorded EEG data in variety of formats, or you can bring your own data.

You work and you present your team work during regular pitching sessions

– during these every team presents their project – the basic idea, their goals, the steps to get it realized. This is very important both to get your thoughts organized and to get feedback and inspiration from other teams.


You remember you are not alone here

Our hackathon is not about competition, it is about collaboration. You should be able to meet new people, see their work, chat with them and help each other when you do not know which way to take next. During all three days of work there will be hackathon mentors/ambassadors there to help you when you get stuck – people skilled in the various fields relevant to the hackathon topics (programmers, EEG specialists, methodology expert…), people ready to share their skills with you.

You present the outcomes of your work

After three days of intensive work, after hours of discussions, after hours of trying hard, you show everyone else where the three days took you, what is the key point of your work, and how you think that your project might continue.
Our jury should provide you with their point of view on your project.

You send a report on your project to our wiki pages

Once you have finished, you share what you learned on our wiki pages, so that it can serve as an inspiration for people who might deal with similar issues. Our wiki pages already contain descriptions of projects from HTB Amsterdam 2016, which you can look at to get a feel what happens at an HTB hackathon.

Hackathon team

We are proud to present the people who are making Hackathon a reality.

AMBASSADORS

People with mountains of skill and experience, that will help you shape your ideas.

Pier Luigi Capucci

Educator, theorist and writer in the fields of media and of the relationships among culture, sciences and technologies

Achilleas Kentonis

Trans-disciplinary Artist / Innovation trainer / Engineer

Louis Mayaud

Research Director at Mensia Technologies SA

Lenka Lhotská

Professor at CVUT-Czech Technical University Department of Cybernetics

Beatrice de Gelder

Professor of Social and Affective Neuroscience at Maastricht University in The Netherlands.

Brendan Allison

Scientist at g.tec - Guger Technologies OG, Allison Consulting, LLC, Biotechnology

ORGANIZATION TEAM

Our in-house team, cooking the hackathon from scratch. They will always be ready to answer your questions concerning whatever.

Pavel Smetana

Director / Transmedia artist, specializing in the use of new and emerging technologies and science in art.

Dmitri Berzon

Concept developer / Light designer, Programmer, Conceptual artist specializing in interactive installations

Cyril Kaplan

Head of Program / Psychologist specializing on EEG correlates of mental and emotional activity, music producer, openVibe and PD programmer.

Eva Kozáková

Community manager / Neuropsychologist specializing in the neural correlates of psychotic diseases.

MENTORS

Enthusiastic and creative people, that will help you to realize your project during the hackathon.

Michael Tesar

Critical time delivery paradigms developer for EEG and fMRI. OpenSesame enthusiast.

Michal Vavrecka

Cognitive scientist at Czech Institut of Informatics,Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC).

Vlastimil Koudelka

Researcher in EEG, QEEG and fMRI - EEG integration

Jozef Legeny

Researcher at MensiaTech specialized in OpenVibe

Nikola Jajcay

Programmer, mathematician, physicist

Pim Zwier

Visual artist and film creator in experimental and documentary film, videoart installations

So, do you feel like joining the event?

Be it just for fun and horizon broadening and meeting new people, or, from a more serious point of view, undertaking it as a task. You will have the opportunity to explore ways of using a relatively new mind extension instrument, the BCI system, from your own original point of view - and a task to become the one node from your “small world ”, that will link the other nodes to new “small worlds” that you will discover.

PARTICIPATE

by filling in the registration form >>


WHEN I 2 - 4 th DECEMBER 2016
WHERE I Venuše ve Švehlovce
VENUE I Slavíkova 22, Praha 3, Czech republic
CONTACT MAIL I info@hackthebrain-prague.cz

REGISTRATION CLOSED

Thank you all for participating in this year Hackathon.
The registrations are closed for Hackthebrain 2016,
see you in Hackthebrain 2017.

This project has received funding of the EUROPEAN UNION'S HORIZON 2020 PROGRAM FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

Local partners

GML

Graphical and Multimedia Laboratory, Faculty of Informatics and Statistics, University of Economics, Prague
WEBSITE

Neuropsychological laboratory, Department of Psychology and Pedagogy, University of South Bohemia České Budějovice
WEBSITE

Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics; Czech Technical University in Prague
WEBSITE

National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic
WEBSITE

Project partners