Thrill Lab @ Comic Con with Vue and RealD


Thrill laboratory took our recent 3D film experiment out to MGM Comic Con London. This was to help publicise some work done with RealD and Vue where we looked at what changed in people’s brains between watching 2D and 3D films. This time we were looking at the differences between highly emotional content (the first 10 minutes of Pixar’s Up) and high-action content (A fight scene from Guardians of the Galaxy). People could come along, get their brain scanned and take home a souvenir video showing what their brain got up to. Needless to say, some of the costumes made effective EEG um… challenging, but a great time was had all round.

Also, I had the opportunity to have my photo taken by SyFy’s incredible 360 degree camera. It would have been nice if I’d been a little thinner at the time, but dem’s the breaks. Here’s the result:


You can view the rotatable image here – sadly there’s no way to embed it 😦


Thrill Lab @ Vue Picadilly with RealD


Once more, thrill lab takes to the road to do some science, this time at Vue Picadilly in partnership with Vue Cinemas and RealD. We’ve been exploring what changes in your brain between watching a 2D film vs watching in 3D. It’s been a fascinating study, though I’ll admit I’ve now seen Disney’s Big Hero 6 rather more times than I’d like to – though I actually still haven’t seen the ending. You can see below how the division of labour works for thrill lab. Only kidding, the poor Prof was just all tuckered out 🙂


Neurosis @ Fururefest


In one of our biggest outings yet, I’ve been involved in the development and deployment of the world’s first brain controlled thrill ride: Neurosis. Neurosis features a six-degree-of-freedom motion simulator and virtual reality headset to immerse the rider in a surreal environment, controlled not by a ride operator, but by the rider’s own brain activity. This activity generates an audio-visual virtual world where pathways emerge, tumbling, twisting and twirling the rider through a psychedelic landscape. The rider’s real-time neurological responses to music, motion and visible wonders, activate fairground lighting; this spectacular neurodata constantly transforms the futuristic ride artwork. Music pumps as the simulator mechanism undulates and sways.

This is the brain child of Prof Walker, with some help from The Mighty Jungulator – Matthew Olden and the good folks of Nottingham and Middlesex Universities. And yes, that is George Clinton riding it in the picture.

Here’s what the observer had to say: Observer article

Here’s a video made by Middlesex about the project:

On Becoming A Counsellor @ CSCW15


Building on the work done with pubsense, Petr Slovak, Anja Tieme, Patrick Oliver, Geraldine Fitzpatrick and I have published “On Becoming a Counsellor: Challenges and Opportunities to Support Interpersonal Skills Training” at the 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW15). This time we addressing the teaching of interpersonal skills for counsellors. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Vancouver in BC, Canada, CSCW this year was… well actually I wasn’t there, so I’ve no idea, but I imagine it was lovely, interesting, filled with fascinating papers etc. This project has been a lovely mix of international and interdisciplinary collaboration and one I’ve been thrilled to be a part of.

Pubsense @ NordiCHI


After a silly amount of Time, Petr Slovak and I have finally published our Pubsense study at NordiCHI this year. In this work we explored how empathetic people were when talking with their friends in pubs, by looking at skin conductance synchronisation. We were able to conclude that there was at least reactivity even if we couldn’t be sure it was empathy – though the context may suggest it. If you’d like to read the paper, it’s available here. It’s nice to see vicarious being used for something other than measuring thrill, and any research that can be done in a pub certainly scores points in my book. Shout out to The Johnson Arms for hosting us.


Vicarious @ KICSS2014


Today I presented Vicarious at the 9th International Conferences on Knowledge, Information and Creativity Support Systems, KICSS 2014 in Limassol Cyprus. Not the busiest room, but I raised some eyebrows. Lovely community though – met lots of nice and interesting people and saw some very interesting papers. Also, I had never been to Cyprus before. Good Food and still sunny in November? that’s a yes from me.

You can read the paper in the proceedings here if you’re interested, while I wait for its LNCS publication.