I’ve been loving Ludwig Zeller’s science-fiction-as-product-design experiments lately, and his latest brainchild, called “Introspectre,” is quite the capper. Like his other works, Introspectre imagines a future “digital native” with special needs that only strange, futuristic appliances can address — in this case, our always-on, networked distractability. Introspectre uses an EEG cap to monitor your mental activity, which it then translates into weird ambient noise so you can literally hear the sound of your attention being splintered into too many competing pieces. This short film demonstrates the concept:
“I am interested in research about neuro-feedback,” Zeller tells Co.Design, when I asked him about his inspiration for Introspectre. “Certain criteria, for instance focus or nervosity, are extracted from EEG readings of the brain and presented to the test person in realtime. That allows him or her to catch the moment when an improvement in the reading is made. It’s like an introspection of one’s mind, which is already used to ease the symptoms of ADHD. The patients learn to use their mind in a more desired way.”
Introspectre doesn’t yet work the way it appears to in the demo film — it’s just a concept at the moment. But using headsets to capture mental activity and feed it back to the user is not science fiction: A company called Emotiv uses similar technology to create headsets that let users control computer interfaces with their thoughts. Zeller is just taking this existing tech and extrapolating it, via his imaginative product design, to one possible logical conclusion. So how long until he can actually, you know, build this stuff? “I am very interested in getting in direct contact with neuro-feedback researchers for a mutual exchange of ideas,” Zeller says. Hear that, brainy types? Give this guy a ring!