Transtech: W3 class notes

  • can capture motor signals in brain to control an avatar: guy in fMRI machine in Israel sees through a robot’s eyes in France, moves toward beckoning person
  • brain can incorporate prosthetics, iphone as if it were part of your body
  • brain jelly grows connections like a human brain…

synthetic telepathy: brain reacts the same way to a real sound and an imagined sound (the latter is weaker)

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS):

  • direct current, can induce specific things based on placement on head
    • anode on right temple and cathode on left shoulder > facilitates learning; much less anxiety/self-judgement/negative thoughts > able to perform better
  • electrodes can send signal to brain
    • top of head, bottom of back of head, can control stress


Binaural beats

  • Use wave interference principle to create a third wave: two waves (one through each ear) combine, creates third wave that entrains brain
    • doesn’t go far past primary auditory areas



  • sound at a high frequency (above what we can hear, >20,000 hertz)
  • 2 million hertz; mechanically vibrates cells to increase/decrease activity
    • Noninvaisve neuromodulation:
      • TMS: strong magnetic coils
      • tDCS (consumer grade available)
        •, Thync
      • transcranial ultrasound
        • mood enhancement:
          • frontal cortex involved in mood
          • focused ultrasound device targets right frontal cortex, makes subjects feel better
          • depressed people have more DMN, especially negative emotion circuits; decreased activity in cognitive control centers
            • frontal cortex stimulation produces opposite effect

Loving compassion meditation: improves mood, changes baseline level of emotional state

Meditation is like auto-hypnosis, but is active: internal wakefulness


On the new breathing exercise: since this is supposed to slow the heart rate and put the body into parasympathetic mode, I tried this on a night I couldn’t get to sleep. It was difficult to regulate my breathing so that I didn’t run out of air during the 8-count exhalation, which put a lot of pressure on the 4-count inhalation, making the entire exercise very stressful. I don’t have the best lungs either, which was probably a detriment to my practice.


  • What are the best consumer-grade EEG devices? Emotiv, biosemi (active shielding, micro amplifier on each electrode)
  • What factors influence the accuracy of EEGs? accuracy of sensors, number of sensors
  • Resources on campus? Classes? Participate as a subject, assistant at 6 washington place, back to right ahnd side, behind elevator, yellow posters; neuroimging; free software called EEGLab

w2 Transtech: class notes

parasympathetic vs sympathetic systems

exercise: inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 8 counts
> slows down heart rate, puts body into parasympathetic system, lowers cortisol levels

Allostatic load: good, tolerable and toxic stress
Allostasis system tries to regulate

norepinephrine is low: can’t identify what is important
dopamine is low: can’t sustain attention but can see what is important; low sense of reward, no interest in life

mental quiescence/absorption meditations:
> yoga, TM (repeat mantra with least amount of effort possible, enjoy pleasure of meditation; switches into parasympathetic system), shamata (focus on breathing, attention stabilizes)
> you don’t experience outside perceptions, body, etc, just what you are focusing on
> can come into contact with the “deepest part of yourself”
> decreased sympathetic and increased parasympathetic ANS
>> decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, but increase in cerebral activity (in alpha and theta bands)
>> with repeated practice, this type of meditation leads to the establishing of internal metabolic rest as the baseline state of the organism

Tonic alertness: controlled parasympathetic system
Mindfulness/zen elicit heightened parasympathetic activity and tonic alertness

deity yoga, deity meditation, chakra meditations, etc lead to heightened sympathetic activation and phasic alertness

relaxation meditations lower stress but do not affect cognitive function


Current Imagining Modalities

  • Hemodynamic/Metabolic
    • PET
    • fMRI
  • Nuclear
    • MRS
  • ElectroMagnetic
    • MEG
    • EEF/ iEEF-EcoG (intracranial)
  • Optical (tracks blood flow using laser, or makes cells responsive to certain lights)
    • NIRS
    • Optogenetic

Electromagnetic methods:

  • high temporal resolution ~ 1ms (can see how signal enfolds)
  • Can’t tell exactly where signal is coming from
  • high density of electrodes allows mathematical analysis to give idea of where signals are coming from
  • picks up a lot of “garbage”: signals from the environment, muscles around the skull (gamma, hard to clean out), eye movements (blinking, moving eyes left to right creates strong magnetic field, darting of eyes), heart rate
  • Frequencies: greater the frequency, the weaker it is
    • delta waves: 1-12 hertz, slower and dominate brain while it’s inactive (deep dreams, comas
      • deep sleep: memories consolidated
      • REM: cleaning out info
    • theta frequencies:
      • hippocampus: broadcasts theta, carries memories
      • prefrontal: cognitive activity (paying attention)
      • posterior channels: alpha/theta during creativity
      • daydreaming, not paying attention
    • alpha: most predominate frequency in brain
      • thalamus: uses it to organize other parts of brain
      • prefrontal: suppresses non-preferred parts of experience
      • idling signal
      • posterior: alpha increases when you close your eyes
    • beta: (13-35 hertz) most associated with every day thinking, language processing,
      • motor areas are mostly beta
      • prefrontal: “high beta stress”
    • gamma range (35-80+ low gamma, 80-250+ high gamma):
      • difficult to pick up w/ eeg because of muscle contamination


  • alpha-theta protocol: increase alpha and theta in posterior areas (increases creativity?)
  • beta protocol: increase beta and decrease theta in frontal sites

Who are you? Meditation exercise

In lieu of ‘homework’ following the class 1, try practicing the ‘who am I?’ meditation, either alone, or with a friend as we did in the class. Please keep a journal/blog of your experiences which you will need to show me (email me a url to it) at the end of the course. We will do this with all meditations we learn in this course.

When we first did this exercise in class, my partner Michelle and I found it really challenging; turns out, we have a lot in common and our meditation just devolved into an enthusiastic conversation (it definitely didn’t help that we’re both pretty affirmative/smiley people).

I also personally found it difficult to talk about myself at such a long length, which is not something I enjoy doing in general, in any context. My uncertainty about where to start, and even what to speak about at all, was indicative of a weakness in my own sense of myself, or at least a reluctancy to reduce myself to former occupations. But this seems forgivable, considering that I’m at ITP to expand my skillset and change careers. I mean, how else do New Yorkers define themselves if not by their job titles?

Transformative Technology—Day 1 class notes


transformative technology conference:

invasive transtech by MIT: low level direct current to the brain; positioning can access different parts of the brain


epigenetics: genes express themselves or not depending on your environment and behavior

focused attention: dorsal attention network
open monitoring: salience network (vigilance; can override other parts of the brain in case of danger)
love and compassion: limbic system (emotions), TOM (theory of mind, allows you to understand what other people are experiencing)
transcendental meditation: default network – thalamus
non dual awareness: precuneus & dlPFC

executive control: decisions
salience: vigilance

theta: concentrated effort, monitoring experience
SMR low Beta:
Beta 1:
High Beta:

EEG: can’t tell where in the brain readings are coming from; they add up

brain projects prediction of what will happen 300 milliseconds in the future (because it lags)