30 March 2017 | 10 °C

Thrill Seeking Machinery

By Rob Last edited 145 months ago
Thrill Seeking Machinery
alex-clockwork-orange.jpg

Of all the places that we might turn to satisfy our current thirst for daft gadgets (see the 'bin spy' below) the Royal College of Art would be pretty low on our list.

But, lo and behold, today we read over at Wired that a RCA research fellow called Brendan Walker has gone and invented something called a "Thrill Measuring Device".

Basically the TMD can be incorporated into stuff like fairground rides or computer games, and modify the experience accordingly i.e. make stuff more or less thrilling depending on the user's reactions.

Walker explains it like this:

"Consider a fairground Waltzer. The ride operator watches, and listens to his riders. He'll turn up the music and spin the chairs if he's not getting shrieks of delight. But he'll also make the ride go slower if younger children are looking scared. Thrill Measuring Devices could take the place of the ride operator, and be used to automatically tailor each ride experience to the sensibilities of each rider."

Yes, we're imagining nightmarish Westworld-esque scenarios too, but it's still pretty cool.

And it doesn't stop there:

"Consider a game like Doom 3. If a player were hooked up to their console using a Thrill Measuring Device, the game designer would be in control of vital personal psychological information which could be used to tailor the game in real time."

Can you imagine something like Silent Hill with this thing hooked up to it? People would die!

But, while we wait for computer games to become freakishly intelligent, you can see some of Brendan Walker's portraits (and the 'auto-portrait' gizmo he used to take them) from Saturday 19 to Sunday 27 at the M + R gallery on Kingsland Road.

Last Updated 17 February 2005