Scientists Recreate Pink Floyd Song by Reading Brain Signals of Listeners

The audio sounds like it’s being played underwater. Still, it’s a first step toward creating more expressive devices to assist people who can’t speak.

A net of electrodes was implanted in the brains of epilepsy patients as part of their treatment, which created a rare opportunity for neuroscientists to record from their brains while they listened to music.Credit…Peter Brunner

Scientists have trained a computer to analyze the brain activity of someone listening to music and, based only on those neuronal patterns, recreate the song.

The research, published on Tuesday, produced a recognizable, if muffled version of Pink Floyd’s 1979 song, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1).”

Before this, researchers had figured out how to use brain activity to reconstruct music with similar features to the song someone was listening to. Now, “you can actually listen to the brain and restore the music that person heard,” said Gerwin Schalk, a neuroscientist who directs a research lab in Shanghai and collected data for this study.