• 07.06.11

Optocoupler: A Sci-Fi Meditation Chamber For Your Head

Ludwig Zeller’s conceptual “digital depressant” will help the denizens of the future unwind.

Optocoupler: A Sci-Fi Meditation Chamber For Your Head

Ludwig Zeller is a science-fiction author, except instead of words, his medium is product design. His latest creation, the “Optocoupler,” is a kind of miniature digital spa for future-frazzled brains.


[Skip to 3:28 to see the Optocoupler]

The basic idea: after a long day of work (at whatever it is you do for a living in 2025), you come home, lay down, and put your head inside the Optocoupler. It closes over your whole head like a pyramid-shaped mask, sealing out sights and sounds. Then, a mysterious disco-ball-like strobing pattern starts pulsing in front of you, accompanied by crackly digital sounds that could be bacon frying or raindrops hitting a touchscreen. What could be more relaxing?

Granted, this weird concept isn’t a working prototype — like Zeller’s other works, Optocoupler is meant to provoke thought and discussion, not necessarily work (yet). That said, Zeller does try them out on himself. “This device uses the principles of brainwave synchronisation through audiovisual sensations in order to slow down and relax the brain activity of its user,” he writes on his website. Hey, if acupuncture works, why not this? It’s the ultimate trip, wrapped neatly in a head-sized package.



[Read more at Ludwig Zeller’s site]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.