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cellF - semi living modular synthesizer
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next [all]
Author cellF - semi living modular synthesizer
andrewF
cellF homepage

I am involved in a very interesting project this year, which I am sure other DIYers will be interested in. So this thread can be a bit of a blog for it.

Simply, we are using human neurons (real ones) to control and be stimulated by a custom built modular.

The founder of the project had his own cells biopsied, converted to stem cells and then converted to neurons.
see - http://cellf.tumblr.com/
the neurons are grown on electrode arrays
like this one -



Which have 60 electrodes we can use to gather signals from the neurons and to send them pulses. These will be used for timing and voice signals in the synth.
Neurons respond to input signals and sometimes set up sequences in response, they keep these sequences running even after the input signal ceases. On any array of neurons, maybe there are 10-15 electrodes putting out pulse signals (about 40-60mV), most of the others are continuously putting out 'bioligical noise' about a 30mV seemingly random signal.

The synth will have 8 voice channels (VCO, VCFs, VCAs, etc) with stereo outputs to drive 16 amps/speakers plus a whole bunch of support modules. it is intended to be used for live performance, especially playing with musicians as their music can be used to stimulate the neurons. we have concerts arranged in 2015 in Norway, Spain & Sydney.
zombie
arrmcbain
eek!
grilojoe
^ what he said
tony d
Yeah eek!

Sounds awesome man can't wait to hear
joshuagoran
DIY PCBs with stem cells available? razz

This sounds amazing. Can't wait to hear/see it!
arrmcbain
I wonder if this will turn out to be a useful platform for neurological research. Why do some cells some cell networks differentiate to be able to 'send' pulses to the electrodes? How regular and/or reproducible are the pulse sequences? Is there some kind of memory mechanism? How do different pulse sequence inputs affect how the cells behave?

This is incredibly interesting, to say the least!
decaying.sine
I love you Andrew!

I once had brain aggregate cells (brain balls) in my refrigerator. I was trying to scan them with MRI. They didn't survive long though because, if I recall, the gasses and such, i.e., the neural milieu, had to be a certain way for them to survive. That was about 8-10 years ago. Perhaps it's changed. Perhaps that brain ball in my fridge grew up to be a nice person eek!

*I have my PhD in neurosciency stuff so this gets me off. If I can contribute in anyway, I'd love too. For instance, I can give you some of my brain sludge. I bet it's response is vactrol like, wooden and slow.
decaying.sine
Man. I want to do this in the US. Are you folks doing it here too?
decaying.sine
How about real time application of things like THC or nicotine to the cells to see how that effects the voltages, which in turn impacts the music. I think I have found a passion calling! This stuff you are doing is amazing.
pre55ure
But can they do Maths? hihi

Dead Banana
appliancide
woah

"Semi Living Musical Instrument"

SliMI? lol
pre55ure
On a more serious note- are there any ethical ramifications of something like this? (I'm not trying to stir any pots, I'm genuinely curious.)

At some point are the neurons "alive" enough that we should be concerned with what happens to them?

And the next question- How long do they live? Does the circuit need to be kept under any sort of special conditions?

Fascinating stuff.
appliancide
decaying.sine wrote:
How about real time application of things like THC or nicotine to the cells to see how that effects the voltages, which in turn impacts the music. I think I have found a passion calling! This stuff you are doing is amazing.


VC Potency
VC Strain Crossfade
Withdrawl CV Out
GrantB
Now THAT is a "cellular automata sequencer" fo yo ass! applause
andrewF
pre55ure wrote:
On a more serious note- are there any ethical ramifications of something like this? (I'm not trying to stir any pots, I'm genuinely curious.)

At some point are the neurons "alive" enough that we should be concerned with what happens to them?

And the next question- How long do they live? Does the circuit need to be kept under any sort of special conditions?

Fascinating stuff.


One member of the team is a very talented neuro-scientist, so we hope to generate data to contrbute to that field. There will be a number of research papers published from this project. The neuro-scientist is developing a neuron array with 30 000 electrodes, basically a CMOS chip with a built in dish for growing cells. A bit too much for this project tho.

The ethics side of this is interesting, but the neurons are re-engineered cells from Guy's own body, not from some poor animal. The stem cell process is also okay these days, there are new processes where any cell can be converted to a stem cell and then converted to be any specific cell. As for the point where we call the cells 'living' that is pretty open....semi living seems a good description, they don't last long and without stimulation they can get bored and die!!

Keeping the neurons alive is the hardest part. A lot of the machine will be devoted to a life support system for the cells, keeping it at 37 degrees C and feeding them nutrients. The cells have to travel frozen and then be thawed and grown before each concert, a process that takes 6 weeks. Thankfully that side of the project is not my problem (yet!)
GrantB
andrewF wrote:
As for the point where we call the cells 'living' that is pretty open....semi living seems a good description


Oh yeah, semi-living AKA semi-dead or un-dead as it were. No biggie. Just zap it with some electricity and "IT'S ALIVE!!!!"

Have fun with your zombie synth Dr. Frankenstein. Where's my pitchfork? lol
Luka
would be awesome to have both audio and visual output along with audio / visual input - is there such a thing a sensor for smell? if so one of them too wink
andrewF
decaying.sine wrote:
Man. I want to do this in the US. Are you folks doing it here too?

these guys have worked together with my uni on other projects, a while ago now
(see MEART)
http://neuro.gatech.edu/research
decaying.sine
I'm in awe. This is really something cool.
Joe.
WTB Serge Tcherepnin neurons.
Raytracer
that sounds awesome and little bit creepy!
Rod Serling Fan Club
Wow!
Peake
BRRRRAAAINNNNNSSSSSS zombie
Infrablue
eek! Just so cool. Can't wait to hear.
NS4W
What's the name of the artist(s)?
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