Labs Multielectrode Array Art

Multielectrode Array Art

Meart (Multi-Electrode Array art) is a hybrot built in collaboration with the Symbi-oticA Research Group. The project explores epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues concerning the use of living neurons for ethno-centric end.

The Semi living artist

Its ‘brain’ of dissociated rat neurons is cultured on an MEA in our lab in Atlanta while the geographically detached ‘body’ lives in Perth. The body itself is a set of pneumatically actuated robotic arms moving pens on a piece of paper (See Figure below).

MEART Robotic Arm

A camera located above the workspace captures the progress of drawings created by the neurally-controlled movement of the arms. The visual data then instructed stimula-tion frequencies for the 60 electrodes on the MEA.

The brain and body talk through the internet over TCP/IP in real time providing closed loop communication for a neurally controlled ‘semi-living artist’. We see this as a medium from which to address various scientific, philosophical, and artistic questions.

A portrait by the MEART drawing arm


Meart has brought neurobiology research to two artistic events: Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth and most recently at Artbots: the Robot Talent Show in New York. The robotic arm and video sensors were shipped to New York while the living neurons sent and received signals from Atlanta.

Watch Meart at work; Click on thumbnails to view:




  • Bakkum, D. J., Shkolnik, A. C., Ben-Ary, G., Gamblen, P., DeMarse, T. B. and Potter, S. M. (2004). Removing some ‘A’ from AI: Embodied Cultured Networks. Embodied Artificial Intelligence
  • A C. Shkolnik, Guy Ben-Ary, Thomas B. DeMarse, Iain Sweetman, Phil Gamblen, Ionat Zurr, Oron Catts, Steve M. Potter; Neurally Controlled Robotic Drawing Arm – Multielectrode Array Art (MEART)
  • Visit the MEART site for more information.
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