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Dhvani: The sound of peace

Shashank Mathur Yasmin Navarrete Ankuj Arora
Institut Néel GIPSA Lab, RoboDoc Robotics Group,
University Grenoble-Alpes University Grenoble-Alpes LIG Lab, University Grenoble-Alpes

Digital devices are increasingly ubiquitous, bringing the physical world closer to the digital world [1]. As this convergence takes
shape, gadgets that are multifunctional as never before present humans with virtually unlimited quantities of information. The
human brain, however, has a limited capacity of attention, and is continuously distracted from its principal task by these “digital
pings of information”. These distractions motivate us to present Dhvani, a ”thinking cap” built to enhance personal productivity
by monitoring & training the brain using a brain computer interface.

Index Terms—Brain Computer Interface (BCI), AI, Cognitive Robotics


Robots, since their conception in Asimov, are considered as Concept & mode of operation
”cool gadgets” envisioned to facilitate mankind in performing
cumbersome tasks. Today, in real life they are serving in The brain is an organ that coordinates with the rest of
both routines (e.g. pressing fruits for breakfast, traveling in body using electrical impulses. Neuroscientists have revealed
self-driven cars, mowing lawns etc.) and critical functions that these electrical signals are unique for different cognitive
(nanobots performing medical procedures, satellites facilitat- states. Each of these cognitive states can be identified by a
ing telepresence). With this monumental growth in the capaci- frequency of neural oscillation, commonly known as brain
ties, the human dependence on these machines is exponentially waves. These waves can be classified into: (i) alpha (8Hz -
increasing. These machines also form the vital interface with 12 Hz) waves corresponding to states of relaxation, attention,
the virtual world of digital information and are programmed meditation and contemplation [2], (ii) beta waves (13Hz-30Hz)
to be context aware according to the user. As these virtual related to active thinking, attention and solving problems
libraries of information continue to grow, so does its access [3] (iii) gamma waves (greater than 40 Hz) correlated with
with these devices. This combination puts human on the front conscious perception [4] and (iv) delta waves (0.5Hz-4Hz)
foot to stay updated. The AI supports in the filtering of associated to deep non-rapid eye movement (NREM) in sleep
information rendering the humans glued to these machines. [5]. External factors like light and sound etc., or factors
But the natural human neurocognitive systems, including the internal to the human body, like a change in neurochemical
brain, has limited capacity for attention & thus isn’t designed activity (or diseases), induces the brain to change its frequency
for such a world laced with information. The brain counts of oscillation. Some of the changes in the brain frequencies are
most of it as distraction inducing a loss of attention that is the attributed to distraction (mind-wandering, unfocused mind),
principal driver behind anxiety, stress, reduced efficiency & triggering the brain to change its state. This results in the
depression. Modern portable devices have shown promising shortened time period of a preferred state of brain/mind.
characteristics in detecting the cognitive state of the brain Dhvani works on a concept similar to that of an Electroen-
during the period of attentiveness and also during distractions. cephalography (EEG) by recording the brain wave frequencies,
But their inability to influence an individual at an empathetic by using very few electrodes fitted inside the cap. These elec-
& cognitive level is a major limitation and render the humans trodes capture the brain wave signals and continuously transfer
wonder about the possibility of finding their metaphorical them to a proprietary smartphone application in real-time via
”thinking cap” in real life. Bluetooth (or to an in-built processing unit). In the application,
To address such a requirement, the device needs to be the brain signals are deeply analyzed and categorized as per
smarter in the detection of cognitive states & capable of the state of cognition. Upon detection of a sudden or gradual
responding appropriately, like communicating with the brain. shift in the brain wave frequency, it registers a distraction. This
For such an advancement in the field of brain-computer distraction consolidates the extent of the change of state of
interface, BCI, we introduce Dhvani, the sound of peace. the brain. Dhvani then calculates an appropriate response and
Dhvain is a real life augmentation of the ”thinking cap, with establishes a communication sequence with the brain. During
a smart dimension aimed at training the brain. It is a personal this response Dhvani persuades the brain, in a non-invasive
BCI device capable of the profiling individuals & wrap itself manner, to nullify the shift in frequency resulting in mainte-
around their contextual requirements. This device camouflages nance of the pre-established cognitive state of brain/mind for
into a cap and couples itself to the neuro-cognitive system longer durations. Thus training the brain to achieve a state of
(brain) of the individual. mindfulness ( [6]–[8]).

faces performance anxiety and goes into depression. Use

of Dhvani can help them overcome such periods of

We thank Véronique Aubergé, Patrick Reigner and
Jérôme Maisonnasse for their instrumental and encour-
aging feedback. We also thank the fablab (FabMSTIC
Grenoble) headed by Jérôme Maisonnasse for their help
in prototyping the idea and bringing it to life. We are also
grateful to members of the RoboDoc robotics group of
Grenoble-Alpes University for their continuous support.

[1] J. Maisonnasse, “Estimation des relations attentionnelles dans un
environnement intelligent,” Ph.D. dissertation, Université Joseph
Fourier (Grenoble), 2007.
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[3] C. Lucchiari and G. Pravettoni, “The effect of brand on eeg mod-
A. Device Specifications ulation: A study on mineralwater,” Swiss Journal of Psychology,
vol. 71, no. 4, pp. 199–204, 10 2012.
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C. Phillips, P. Maquet, and P. Peigneux, “Cerebral correlates of
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via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol to a smartphone ap- [6] P. M. Keune, V. Bostanov, B. Kotchoubey, and M. Hautzinger,
“Mindfulness versus rumination and behavioral inhibition: A per-
plication whose algorithms help isolate the various categories spective from research on frontal brain asymmetry,” Personality
of brain waves and thus identify the brain state. The brain state and Individual Differences, no. 3, pp. 323–328, 2012.
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enabling the individual to stay calm or focused for longer [8] R. J. Davidson, D. A. Lewis, L. B. Alloy, D. G. Amaral, G. Bush,
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Plan for Mood Disorders.
Dhvani with its capacity to record brain signals, and in
response influence the brain to stay composed, is expected
to find its applications in a variety of fields.
1) Brain-training Dhvani is a potential solution to tackle
scatter-mindedness. Such a state arises due to multiple
thoughts being emerging in the brain, with less time
for each to develop. Studies have shown that opposite
cognitive states to such state of mind-wandering, i.e.
states of attention and focus are directly correlated to
the alpha brain waves. Usually, in our everyday life,
we try and develop attentional mental states to fulfill
our duties and problems. These states are not always
easy to attain and even harder to sustain, especially
when immersed in a stressful environment. Dhvani will
facilitate the achievement of a brain-train regime to
obtain and maintain the ”thinking time” required by the
individual to achieve their objective.
2) Sports Training Aid Sportspersons show ingenuity. This
is because of the extensive control their brain shows in
the alpha frequency range. A healthy brain activity in
this range provides them with extensive creativity and
motivation. But it is not unusual that the greatest player