If you want to talk about the future of wearables, look no further than the brain. Many of the most innovative and boundary-pushing wearables are looking to capitalize on brainwaves as a power source, or just to create some really beautiful looking installations of art and fashion. Behnaz Farahi is one of those creative pioneers. Farahi’s Synapse project conceived of a wearable, 3D printed helmet that moves and changes shape in response to brain activity. This reactive wearable helmet essentially listens to a wearer’s neural activity like electroencephalography (aka an EEG), adapting and transforming based on the brainwaves it detects.
The helmet was designed with a flexible and malleable structure that would fit easily and comfortably on one’s head, both for functional and durable purposes. Neural commands from the brain effectively control the Synapse helmet, thanks to a built-in Neurosky EEG chip and Mindflex headset that establish a seamless blend of cutting-edge aesthetic design and technology. This technology can access and translate various cognitive data, such as alpha, beta, gamma, delta and theta waves created when neurons are fired in the brain. When these different brainwaves are recorded by an EEG chip, the Synapse helmet essentially turns into a direct interface with our brain that allows wearers to shape the helmet based on neural commands related to brainwaves that elicit actual motions in our bodies. Only in this case, the brainwaves are making the headpiece move.
According to Farahi, the purpose of Synapse “is to explore the possibilities of multi-material 3D printing in order to produce a shape-changing structure around the body as a second skin.” But Synapse taps into something more revolutionary and exciting: the concept and execution of controlling something with our minds. Synapse is but a small step in the attempt to explore how humans might be able to affect, shape and control our environments utilizing just our thoughts, essentially making one’s environment an extension of their body. “This project aims to play with the intimacy of our bodies and the environment to the point that the distinction between them becomes blurred, as both have become a single entity,” Farahi says. If nothing else, it’s a stunning creation you can control with your mind, which is about as peak 2016 as can be.