Winner Best Art Paper CHI 2016.

#Scanners: Exploring the Control of Adaptive Films using Brain-Computer Interaction

Published in CHI ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems

Pages 5385-5396


This paper explores the design space of bio-responsive entertainment, in this case using a film that responds to the brain and blink data of users. A film was created with four parallel channels of footage, where blinking and levels of attention and meditation, as recorded by a commercially available EEG device, affected which footage participants saw. As a performance-led piece of research in the wild, this experience, named #Scanners, was presented at a week long national exhibition in the UK. We examined the experiences of 35 viewers, and found that these forms of partially-involuntary control created engaging and enjoyable, but sometimes distracting, experiences. We translate our findings into a two-dimensional design space between the extent of voluntary control that a physiological measure can provide against the level of conscious awareness that the user has of that control. This highlights that novel design opportunities exist when deviating from these two-dimensions – when giving up conscious control and when abstracting the affect of control. Reflection on of how viewers negotiated this space during an experience reveals novel design tactics.