Chris Jacquin, 17-year-old with cerebral palsy, plays music thanks to Brainfingers system

Nadine Kalinauskas
·Good News Writer

Chris Jacquin, 17, has cerebral palsy, making it difficult to play the music he loves to compose: he can't hold or play any musical instruments.

The BBC reports that a new technology, the Brainfingers system, is enabling Jacquin to play musical notes on a computer thanks to a special headband that responds to clicks in his jaw.

"Brainfingers has given me the chance to perform some of my favourite songs and has enables me to perform in an ensemble," Jacquin said.

Watch the Edinburgh teen share his love of music composition below, and demonstrate another technology, called "bite switch," below.

"Brainfingers is a system developed in the US to enable people with very limited motor control to access computer technology through muscle movement and brain activity. Drake Music Scotland is the only UK organization to use the technology to enable people to make music. A headband fitted with sensors reads the brainwaves that are generated when the player chooses an option shown on the computer screen," explains the Drake Music Scotland site.

"We've adjusted Brainfingers to be sensitive to Chris' jaw movements, so as he increases the pressure between his teeth he goes through a trigger line which Brainfingers is reading," Drake Music Scotland's music technology officer Rick Bamford shared.

"This puts him in direct control of how the score is played back."

Drake Music Scotland is working with Jacquin and other disabled musicians on a commissioned piece by Oliver Searle, entitled "Technophobia," as part of the New Music 20x12 programme for the Cultural Olympiad this summer to be performed in Edinburgh and London.

"The idea behind the Technophonia project is to bring together young musicians who are using the technology with their peers, who are playing conventional instruments," Thursa Sanderson from Drake Music Scotland told the BBC.

"This allows them to be part of inclusive music making and inclusive ensembles. That's what Technophonia is."