Hack the Brain as a movement

Hack the Brain as a movement

Blog van Wobbie van den Hurk

Hack the brain

As a community we wish to organise events all over the world. Events can be intimate or massive, online or offline and set for practical hacking or philosophical discussions. Importantly, all events create an inviting and inspiring environment where experts from many different fields can come together to share ideas, get new insights and become comrades in brain-hacking. Bringing together philosophers, professional hackers, neuroscientists and techno-sceptics we show people the world through another pair of eyes.

Hack the Brain in Amsterdam

We organise a yearly hackathon-weekend at the Waag in Amsterdam. Focus will always be on brain-hacking: creative thinking, collaboration, and searching for boundaries in technology, knowledge or ethics. Plus, there shall always be experts on neuroscience and technique available to give knowledgeable answers and discussion input.

Each hackathon-weekends will include elements of:

  1. Exposure to a “new” audience
  2. Making / DYO brain-hacking
  3. Ethical discussion

We encourage anyone to look beyond ones fields of expertise. Our hackathons are a place for artists, scientists, philosophers, makers and entrepreneurs to inspire each other, by questioning one another’s approaches and by working together on shared projects.

Hack the brain

Hack the Brain in 2018

The fifth edition of Hack the Brain takes place in Amsterdam. As in every previous edition, the Waag is het physical centre of the Dutch event. Simultaneous to the Dutch event there are HtB events in many different countries; all continents are involved. But the actual centre of activity lies online where everybody is connected. This year we have more than a thousand brainhackers participating in a full HtB-weekend worldwide and millions will be hearing and talking about what we do.

Brainhackers in the Waag form multidisciplinary teams with each other and with hackers at other events or even those participating from home or the office. Ideas are shared, as is code, conversation and brain signals. In example, we see an artistic project using brainwaves from all time zones, we follow a fierce discussion on neurofeedback in children and we are present at the birth of a new start-up aiming to help grandchildren keep the brains of their grandparents healthy.

Hack the Brain as an international network

We wish to be part of a growing international community of active and responsible brainhackers, with “chapters” all around the world.

Within the open international community, we would like to share:

  1. Ideas: sources of inspiration; what is happening in the field; which brain-hacks would we/you like to work on; which events should be organised, who should be invited.
  2. Code: all code is open source so following events can build upon the insights of the previous events; hacks can continue development outside of events; members can assist one another; newcomers can quickly get a glimpse of possibilities.
  3. Other material: like landing page web-design, banners, folders, organisation materials, templates for pitches, jury reports etc.

All chapters should contribute to the aim of opening up neuroscience to the public and all should do it in their own way.

Videos of previous editions of Hack the Brain in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam 
11 februari 2016

Our goal is to use what we know about the brain: to take neuroscience and –techniques out of their ivory towers and dodgy basements and into the minds and hands of the public. We wish to play a major role in making brain-techniques human and understandable. To show everybody can contribute to the discussion of brain-hacking: where do we stand and where do we wish to go?


The above ambition is sketched by Wobbie van den Hurk and Martijn Arts from Total Active Media. Writing as part of the Amsterdam Hack the Brain-team, also known as NeuroTech[AMS]. In 2014 Initiated by the Waag Society and Total Active Media and joined by Donders Institute (Radbout University Nijmegen), University of Twente and TNO.

Get in touch if you wish to know more about becoming part of the movement.

Contact: 
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Martijn Arts

Service designer
+31 20 750 94 25