Uppsala SciFest 2019

This is the second time visiting the Uppsala SciFest 2019, and it was an intense first day. School class after school class visited the booth in which I demonstrated the use of EEG-equipment as a simple Brain-Computer interface. The challenge is to focus your attention on one of two small circles on the screen in such a way that it starts to move. This is difficult since we are not used to using our brains in this way.

Full concentration, focusing on moving things on the screen, just by thinking hard.

However, after training for a couple of minutes, many of the visitors actually managed to make the desired circle move more than the circle not focused on. The problem is that it is not possible to describe how you do this since the learning is made in the brain, rather than as a conscious activity. This was a continuous source of slightly embarrassed comments: “I don’t know how I do it, but it just happens…!“. And that is a very good observation. This skill is actually very much like keeping the balance on a bicycle, you know when you get it right, but no one can tell you how to do it.

All in all, the first day at SciFest was a success, so I will just keep my fingers crossed that the rest of the SciFest will continue just as well, including on Saturday, when it is open to the public.