CharlotteObserver.com and Inventors Digest magazine, which is based in Charlotte, teamed up on an essay contest to mark National Inventor's Month. Here is the high school winner in the Carolinas:
Christopher Hunter, 16, of Warren New Tech High School in Warrenton, N.C., won an iPod Nano by topping the Carolinas high school division for his essay on a neural-computer interface for music composition. The judges warmed to the originality of his think-and-play technology, the only entry that addressed music – a universal language found in every culture. Here is his essay:
Neural Music Composition
By 2059 an invention that I believe will be put in place is music composition, including different instrumentation, by the use of brain signals and cognitive thought.
With today’s technology, we have made it possible to crudely control prosthetic limbs by force of thought. We know that brain waves are electrical and chemical pulses that are sent out and read by different parts of the body.
With refining, we can make it so that the signals are read even more accurately. This technology can also be applied in other ways to enhance people’s lives. Computers could be configured to receive thought processes from people.
Music composition has come a long way. We have gone from having to write on pieces of parchment to being able to compose entire concertos without using a single piece of paper. Programs like Song Writer and Finale 2009 have helped bring music composition to where it is today.
It is now possible for a person to sing a melody and the pitches are plugged into the computer.
With new breakthrough technology, a person would be able to control, through concentration, the notes they wanted, the length of the note, and the type of instrument they wanted to use. The combination of these two technologies can allow individuals to create songs, symphonies even, by just thinking of them.
Those who might not be able to write music because of some disability, whether it is physical or mental, would have the opportunity to show through music what they could not put into words.
Many disabled individuals would be able to show off their gifts and talents in ways not known to them before. We would be able to learn more about how the mind works in individuals like savants and others with abilities different from the majority. Their voices would be heard not as sick or disabled people, but as artists and creators.