Brilliantly Brainy: Do Art Cars Dream of Electric Beeps?

 

Most drivers have a very strong connection to their vehicles. It’s almost as though our cars are an extension of our own bodies; we ride around in our metal and plastic cocoons, seeing the world through the attached windows and mirrors. But what if our cars themselves had memories and dreams?

 

The Brain Car is a moving sculpture from artist Olaf Mooij. On the back of an old hearse sits a huge brain-like sculpture that looks awesome enough by day. But by night, it lights up with another type of awesome entirely.

All day as it is traveling, the Brain Car records images of where it goes and the sights it encounters. Then after dark, the Brain Car remixes those “memories” and an interior projector replays on the inside surface of the brain.

 

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Augmented Reality Cinema App Brings Movies to Real Life

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True movie lovers know that there aren’t many things more thrilling than visiting the very locations where your favorite movies were shot. Call it cinematic tourism or just giving your movie experiences a brand new layer; either way, it can be a fun and interesting way to enhance both your movie experiences and your vacation. A new smartphone app called AR Cinema will use the power of GPS along with augmented reality to actually bring you into your favorite films.

Visit a street corner or landmark where a movie was filmed, hold up your smartphone and the app will show you the scene(s) shot there. The demo video shows films set in London, but the developers want to add additional cities. Of course, the people who live in those cities might not be thrilled with the cinema tourists holding up their phones in the middle of the street to watch movie clips, but this awesome idea could add a whole new layer to the tourism trade in cities like London, New York, Toronto and other frequently-used shooting locations.

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Mind Games: Four Games You Control With Your Brain

Forget using your body to control your video games, or making realistic motions with a game controller to make similar movements in the game. The future of toys and video games will be the ones that only require you to sit still, concentrate and use your brain. The EEG technology used in hospitals to measure brainwaves has found its way into the consumer market in the form of games that let you move control the game piece or character just by thinking really hard. The games using the technology are currently pretty simple, but it’s easy to imagine that mind-controlled games could soon let you do everything that games with hand-held controllers do now.

A simpler toy that uses the same brain-controlled air stream concept is the Star Wars Force Trainer. It doesn’t involve any complicated mazes or guiding the ball through hoops; you just have to control the flow of air to Yoda’s cues. As you learn to control your concentration and brain waves more effectively, you move through the Jedi ranks. Hopefully the constant Star Wars sound effects don’t distract you from achieving your destiny. If you’re ready to start your training, the Star Wars Force Trainer is available from Think Geek for around $130.

The technology used in both of the above toys was developed by NeuroSky, a San Jose, California-based company. They also offer their own take on brainwave games with the NeuroSky Mindset. The headset looks a little like a hands-free telephone headset with the microphone in the wrong place. The starter set comes with “Brainwave Visualizer,” an application that lets you control on-screen shapes based on your state of mind. A demonstration of The Adventures of Neuroboy is also included; the demo has you use your mental muscles to push, pull, lift and burn on-screen objects. A game called Math Trainer is also included with the Mindset, and apparently lets you answer math questions with your mind. Several other applications are in the works, and NeuroSky seems devoted to figuring out fun new ways to use brainwaves as entertainment. The company even offers development tools to help users create their own games and content for use with the Mindset. Get the starter kit from NeuroSky’s online store for $199.

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