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Brian Muhia

Brian Muhia is a self-taught programmer, AI researcher and trans-disciplinary artist. He is co-founder and data maintainer of Sound of Nairobi, co-founder of AI startup Fahamu Inc and CTO of the Causality, Interpretability Representation Learning group at the pan-African AI Safety research lab Equiano Institute. He is a hacker and painter, has over 12 years experience in the software industry in Kenya and loves to live code music in Sonic Pi with the trans-disciplinary art group BYTE.


This Is Your Brain On Nairobi

How does our sonic environment affect our minds? Can we measure the effect with high specificity? We want to measure how a collection of 165 binaural recordings of Nairobi and its environs impacts people when they listen to them, so we are 3D printing and assembling an electro-encephalogram (EEG) from open hardware components (OpenBCI Ultracortex Mk. 2). This is a brain-computer interface that measures tiny electrical potentials from the scalp, collecting 16 channels worth of data that roughly tracks the blood flow through the brain. With enough data, it has been shown to be possible to discover EEG signal response to musical signals (Lin, Chiu, Hsu, IEEE 2005). We aim to replicate the work with the OpenBCI biosensing headset, for someone listening to recordings from Sound of Nairobi (, an open access archive of binaural sound recordings of Nairobi's environment.

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