Hear paralyzed musicians deliver a performance with only their brainwaves.

Imagine seeing a string quartet play beautiful music.

Photo from Ching/Flickr.

Strings are pretty much my favorite kind of instrument; it's hard for me to listen to a cello or violin and not feel something. And when you get four musicians all playing together? Beautiful.


In 2015, Plymouth University's Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London teamed up to create a spectacular string quartet.

But this wasn't your typical performance.

The musicians in this quartet all had severe motor impairments, which can affect a person's ability to move.

Motor impairments can be caused by a number of different things, such as a motor neuron disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). In severe cases, a person may not be able to move or speak at all.

For musicians like these folks, their condition would normally present a considerable barrier to being able to play music like they once did. But in this case, researchers and doctors found a way to let them play anyway.

The thought was this: If the musicians still have musical talent but simply can't do the physical motions, we'll just make it so they don't need to do any physical motions.

First, researchers put stretchy, cap-like devices that can read brainwaves on the musician's heads.

Then, during the performance, a computer screen presented the four musicians with selections of short different musical phrases.

The musicians could choose what phrase they wanted by simply looking at it. The caps then picked up these brainwaves and sent the information to four other, nearby musicians who played the music for them (so, technically, maybe this would be an octet).

The end result was brilliant — four motor-impaired musicians, picking and playing in real-time to create beautiful music, all with their brainwaves.

One of their performances was captured in this short, nine-minute documentary by Tim Grabham and professor Eduardo Reck Miranda, who spearheaded the project.

Check out their brilliant performance here:

Brain-computer interfaces have gotten us this far and are taking us further still.

We've already seen brain-computer interfaces that can help us control prosthetic arms with thoughts and restore senses of hearing and touch to folks without them.

There's a lot more work to be done in these fields, of course, but one day soon, we might be hearing, seeing, and visiting a lot more performances and projects like this.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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