Brain Data Visualisation & Drones


The Challenge 

We’re exploring concepts of visualizing how natural spaces affect peoples’ physiology for positive change. Our Deep Ocean project is a first step in exploring technology opportunities and developing insights for future creation.   Looking at EEG (electroencephalogram) brain wave data, we set out with the challenge of firming up some key questions; Can we influence peoples’ brain activity through a presentation of ocean images? Can we access and visualize the data? Will it make sense to people? Can we make it beautiful, amazing, creative? Can we present the data within an ocean setting for context?

The Solution

Emotiv brain scanner 

We used Emotiv’s brain scanning sensors and software to measure peoples’ brain activity when presented with an image of a tranquil seaside landscape. The technology is amazing and frustrating. We had some serious challenges with Emotiv’s Insight brain scanner and eventually upgraded to the Emotiv’s EPOC unit which was much more reliable in data display and device connection.


Data mapping

We then export this data in a simplified CSV format. From here, we’re able to convert the brain wave activity into X and Y coordinates. The coordinates are then used to plot a flight path for a Phantom 4 drone to fly the path using the Litchi application.

The Drone

The drone was fitted with a Lume Cube light, controlled via an iPhone app to help visualize the path taken. The drone was then launched at a beach and the flight path captured using a Nikon D750 with a 25 second exposure to capture the path over time.



Photographing this work is one of the greater challenges we’ve had. Managing a 25 second window, difficult focus profiles, remote drone lighting and ambient lighting together is a great stretch.

We’d be lying if we said this wasn’t a lot of fun too – the work requires considerable hands on time with some fascinating technology, understanding and then stretching it.

David McGowan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Nomad

The Result 

The result of this early exploration presents the path the drone took, being a physical visualization of a person’s reaction to the ocean. In a way, it’s holding a mirror up to show brain wave activity instead of a physical reflection.

Sh*tbox Rally