Brain Wave Machine

Posted by Author makecircuits

Brain-Wave Machine

Humans have been using light and sound to achieve altered states of consciousness for thousands of years. Primitive cultures used flickering fires and rythmic drumming to induce these altered states. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of electronic brain-wave machines which use light and/or sound to alter brain-wave activity. Brain-wave activity ranges from fully awake to deep dreamless sleep. This activity is categorized into five primary groups: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

Delta 0.1 - 3 Hz deep sleep, lucid dreaming, increased immune functions, hypnosis
Theta 3 - 8 Hz deep relaxation, meditation, increased memory, focus, creativity, lucid dreaming, hypnagogic state
Alpha 8 - 12 Hz light relaxation, "super learning", positive thinking
Low Beta 12 - 15 Hz relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
Midrange Beta 15 - 18 Hz increase mental ability, focus, alertness, IQ
High Beta above 18 Hz fully awake, normal state of alertness, stress and anxiety
Gamma 40 Hz associated with information-rich task processing and high-level information processing

By using light and sound to induce these brain states we are able to gain greater control and efficiency of brain usage. Furthermore, improvements in relaxation, memory, creativity, stress management, sleep disorders, and even ESP(!) can be had by utilizing a brain-wave machine.

Commercial brain-wave machines cost hundreds of dollars, but you can build your own using only a few dollars worth of components. In this document I will walk you through hardware construction and softw1are control of an easy to build brain-wave machine.

Disclaimer: I am not an electronics expert or a biofeedback specialist. If you fry your hardware (or your wetw1are) don`t come whining (or drooling) to me. I assume no responsibility for what you do with this information.

Building the Hardware

With simplicity being the goal, brain-wave goggles can be constructed from suitable eyewear, such as safety glasses, and an array of LED`s (Light Emitting Diodes). I`m using the PC`s parallel port to control the flashrate of the LED`s. Audio stimulation can be provided by a stereo and headphones or the PC`s soundcard.

I`m using 8 LED`s, one per parallel port data out line. This provides an easy way to control each individual LED allowing for some variations in pattern and intensity. Each lense on the goggles will hold four LED`s in a diamond pattern. The LED`s are powered by the parallel port and controlled via softw1are.

Basic electronics experience is recommended but not necessary to construct this brain-wave machine.

Parts List

8 LED`s (choose green, yellow, or red LED`s) DB25 pin male parallel port connector (or butcher a printer cable) Goggles (safety glasses or similar eyewear) Wire

Circuit Diagram


  • Drill four holes in each lense in a diamond pattern as shown in the diagram to the right. Make the holes just large enough for the LED`s to fit through.

  • Glue the LED`s into the holes. Be sure there is room betw1een the LED`s and your face when you are wearing the goggles. Actually, the LED`s fit tightly in 3/16" holes and I didn`t need to use glue.

  • Wire all of the LED`s cathode leads together and connect (with a long wire) to a ground pin on the parallel port connector. Pins 18-25 are all ground so pick any one of those. Note: the flat side of the LED is the cathode lead.

  • Connect the LED`s anode leads to the parallel port connector. Follow the circuit diagram above which outlines which parallel port pin to connect each LED to. Use long wires, you are going to want to be lying down when you use the goggles. (If you are using a printer cable you can use a battery and a LED to figure out which pin each wire is attached to.)

  • If your parallel port wires aren`t already in a bundle tie them together with wire-ties so they don`t get tangled. You will also want to provide strain-relief by attaching the wire bundle to the goggles so it doesn`t get pulled off.