Were you horrified when Gwyneth Paltrow’s head ended up in a box in Se7en? Do you share Harrison Ford’s opinion that Han Solo should have died in Return of the Jedi? Think Kurt Russell could have handled aliens better in The Thing? Well, sorry—you’re out of luck. There’s nothing you can do to prevent William Wallace’s beheading or Carrie’s mayhem. But thanks to MyndPlay, controlling the plot to future films is totally possible.
The idea of controlling a film’s plot from a user perspective isn’t new. Recently, fingertip sensors that measured moisture (sweat) and pulse rates let viewers control the direction of the story via their emotions. And researchers at Tel Aviv University designed a complex way to film movies so that users who interact and alter plots via touchscreen devices can experience seamless transitions into various storyline directions. But the MyndPlay system is a little different—it uses your brainwaves to re-orient the narrative.
The headset is essentially a BCI device, using NeuroSky EEG technology that measures electrical signals from your brain, then transmits the readings back to the unique video player, which moves the storyline of the film into one of many directions, depending on the mood you’re in. If you’re good at controlling your emotions, then you could potentially have the perfect ending. You control who lives and dies, whether the bad guy wins or loses, and who gets the girl at the end—just by relaxing and focusing.
The first mind-interactive film is the short Paranormal Mynd: Exorcism (seen below), where you—the viewer—take on the role of exorcist, trying to banish demons from a possessed woman. There’s also three more films (Assassin, Great Escape, Prophetia) that were recently unveiled, an archery game, meditation app, and a couple of sports games lined up (bowling and golf).
In order to get in on the interactive experience, you need to fork out about $130 for the NeuroSky MindWave headset, then download the free software and check out the videos and apps (which range from free to about $4).
Though the chief use of this technology will be for games and training videos, interactive feature films would take us one step closer to cinematic greatness—a true “MindF***“, though movies like Fight Club, Memento and Mulholland Drive seem to do this all on their own.