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Espresso of Innovation: Mood and Mind

By Greg Wood, creative director of studio, digital, Draftfcb Auckland

Hello and welcome to this week's Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week we’re thinking about clicking on some links.

What if we could see inside people’s minds, understand what they’re really thinking, and act on that? It’d make advertising quite a lot easier – not to mention pretty much everything else in life.
What if I told you it’s not only not impossible, but happening? Bet that got your attention – triggering a change in the state of your brain activity that we can detect and use to trigger an action in the real world.
It’s true: We’re beginning to go directly to the way we’re feeling as a means for controlling an interface or an experience – bypassing purposeful physical input like moving a mouse or pressing a button, and training people to think about what they’re doing in order to get a response.
The fundamental technology isEEG andAPIs. We’re still at the physical headset stage (although the headsets are starting to look cool and don’t require goopy gel to make a connection) -- but we know that if it’s a rewarding enough interaction, people will engage. And when you engage with your mood and your mind, things get interesting.
Interfaces range from the simplest, cutest consumer application – like the immensely hackableNecomimi headsets, giving people a super-cute visual display of your current mood / emotional state – to the more powerful demonstrations of lifesaving ideas, like theRAC Attention Powered Car – you drift off, it switches off.
We looked at using that same attention-powered technology to force people tofocus on our ads. But forcing people to do what we want is not in anyone’s best interest – even if it is actually possible to use EEG to control not only things, butcontrol people.
The real value in attention- and mood-controlled interaction comes from training and rewarding people to think about their actions. We can now literally use the way a person is feeling to pretty much fly anything, drive anything, remain calm enough toprove you deserve a beer – or if you’re too young for beer, justcreate anything you can think of – and that opens up a whole new range of not just experiential campaigns, but actual unfiltered feedback about those experiences.
And that’s where I think it gets really interesting: imagine a world where we move from these discrete and unconnected experiential examples, to fully networked, data-layering applications – allowing us to expose the most boring spots in a mall, the most unsafe streets for cyclists in any city, or the general zeitgeist of any occasion.
Open your mind to the possibilities!