Painting on the Brain, With the Brain

First it’s music, now it’s art.

Technology linking machines and the mind is becoming more real with every passing day, and, further proving the point, brain-computer interface researchers have now ventured into the world of art therapy.

As this article in ALS News Today reports, a new study into probing the effects of digital art therapy cited that every ALS patient who participated in the research found the therapy “beneficial” and would “recommend art therapy to other patients and their caregivers.”

Art therapy has long been used to give individuals an outlet to relax and express themselves, but what makes this research unique is that the art was generated wholly in the mind with the assistance of a brain-computer interface.

Imagine now that we’re able to reverse-engineer the thoughts and feelings that went into creating that art. Imagine if we could distill it into its most raw data and share it with others in a way that allowed them to understand the meaning behind the art, to actually experience the emotions that went into creating it.

This would be an extraordinary step toward forming a true bond, to instilling authentic, lower-case empathy between individuals of disparate backgrounds or who might otherwise be unable to communicate with each other.

Sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, right?

It is.

In Imminent Dawn, the Electronic Mechanism Purposed for the Achievement of a Truly Hybrid Yield (EMPATHY) is an internet-access brain implant that, among other things, permits those who have it installed to create and share their art—and the meaning behind it—with other individuals who have the implant installed.

This is an especially important advancement for the book’s main character, an art-school dropout who enrolls in the first round of human trials for EMPATHY. With painting as her go-to mode of escape, that she now has the ability to shape a canvas in her mind with a mere thought is an astonishing advancement—though it’s one that certainly comes with unforeseen, unwelcome costs.

And this art-school dropout is but one of thousands of patients who put this brain-computer interface technology to work for them in Imminent Dawn, with some using it for gaming, others for musical composition, and others still for simply navigating their day-to-day life on the research compound.

When the research takes a dark turn, however, every patient needs to band together to overcome the threat that looms before them—a threat now residing within their very minds.

For as sinister as the EMPATHY nanochip might prove to be, the brain-computer interface in our world remains a mechanism for hope, and art therapy studies like those mentioned in ALS News Today are demonstrative of that.

To stay up to date with advancements in the world of the brain-computer interface, you can subscribe to this blog or check back regularly for updates. Or, if you’d like to explore the dark side of the brain-computer interface, get your hands on the first two installments of the EMPATHY series below, starting with Imminent Dawn.

Imminent Dawn

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | NineStar Press | Kobo | SmashwordsGoodreads | Author Website

Mourning Dove

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | NineStar Press | Kobo | Smashwords | GoodreadsAuthor Website

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