experience   technology  


In 2003, Brendan started work on an auto-portrait machine as part of the Punters project, with help from Dr James Condron at Media Lab Europe. The aim was to create a portable machine that could take photographs of fairground riders at their peak moment of thrill. The machine used GSR biosensing and an algorithm derived from The Walker Thrill Factor.

The resulting machine (Thrill Technology MKI) and photographs were shown at M+R Gallery, the Science Museum, and the Wellcome Trust.

In 2006, Brendan drew up plans to further develop the technology to enable continuous monitoring and broadcast of riders' physiological signals. This was to form part of a live performance - Fairground: Thrill Laboratory - which Walker had been invited to create for the Dana Centre in London.

The technology needed to be capable of monitoring both facial expressions to provide insight into the rider's level of pleasure, and stress levels to determine the rider's state of arousal.

Brendan invited the Mixed Reality Laboratory, University College London, and Health Smart Ltd to help him realise the system - Thrill Technology MKII.

Two data representations were created for the event - expert, requiring scientific interpretation; and non-expert, which could be easily understood by the public, both of which were screened live inside the museum.

In 2007, Brendan continued to work with MRL to develop the system, producing Thrill Technology MKIII for Oblivion: Thrill Laboratory at Alton Towers. Thrill Technology MKIII incorporates a robust record / replay system and tools for analysing the data developed by MRL. Videos and data collected from O:TL are currently being analysed by Walker, MRL, and the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham.

Brendan and MRL continue to collaboratively develop Thrill Technology both as an analytical tool, and a device to be used by Brendan and others in innovative forms of entertainment. Brendan and MRL are also developing expertise in analysing extreme experience, and are collecting a growing body of data to support the design of new experience in different contexts.

Thrill Technology MKIV was used by Brendan to help produce Discovery Channel's pilot show Engineering Thrills, which aired in October 2008.