Brain in a Box Response
The brain is a small mysterious organ. It holds memories, allows for logic and reasoning, controls the body’s internal functions, interprets and elicits responses… For our project we wanted to explore the memory functionality. Our project included two interfaces, the brain and the box. Touching different parts of the brain triggered different memories (audio and video and image files). We tried to make it as believable as possible in terms of physicality so that people will think they are playing with a real brain. The box was used to hold the brain, keep it safe, and emphasize the discovery process. Our piece used continuous input. At all times the brain was sending data that could be seen as a hypnotizing shape-shifting color-blob on the screen. However, when the user explored the brain memories would reveal themselves in the form of visual and audio files. Unexpected juxtaposition of memories occurred when users simultaneously stimulated two or more sensitive areas. The brain does not require user interaction to function, however when it is being handled, memories surface. This discovery process allows the user to see information that would not occur without their interaction and therefore gives them some sense control. The brain is segmented into different functionality and so handling different areas of the brain result in different forms of memories (unique still image, video and audio content). Therefore, while input data is a simple capacity sensor data reading, complex algorithms call to the different media. We chose non-specific generalized videos, images, and audio (watching birds fly, seeing your shadow, driving in a car, stream rising, a crowded street, playing with dogs) as playback material so that each user could relate to it. That way, even though users might not recall personal memories, they are still familiar with the content and have an implicit understanding. When the brain is being handled, the computer displays visual data that is seen by the user. The user reacts to the visual data by making a choice to continue handling the same place, to handle different places or to stop handling altogether. There is a feedback loop in how the visuals are affecting the user’s judgment.