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Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You Redux

posted Sep 5, 2015, 3:42 AM by Ellen Pearlman


Man wearing stylish brain waive interruptor. Photos by Marco Zanin

Are you worried about unknown, roving security forces intercepting your brainwaves? Sure, they can snatch your cell phone memes, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat pics, Tinder likes, you name it. But what about your actual thoughts? Who you gonna call? Brainwave Busters?

Neuro Imaging Surveillance” or NIS for short by designer Lisa Cori Chung, (as opposed to the strictly medical Surveillance Neuro Imaging) is the stylish, one size fits all anti-brain wave detection device for those who are worried about being on anyone’s current security profile list.

Fabrica, an Italian design research center worked with Chung and Catlin Morris to design pieces that take a unique approach to the subject. They don’t stop invasive scan technologies per se, but like a chameleon, change the wearer’s sensory input through diversionary tactics. This means hats that send out impulses of sound through bone conduction, a gently shocking collar, and a mask that sends out pulsing flashing lights. 


Flashing Lights sensor unmasked

The piece was commissioned by Wearable Futures . The concept behind it is not actually so far fetched. In 2013 Edward Snowden revealed that “The NSA can determine whether your dreams indicate a subversive mindset, but they’re not yet at the point where this technology can interpret specific images or words. It’s still being tested, and it promises to be the most powerful tool yet for spying on American citizens. In dreams, people cannot censor themselves like they can while awake, so the NSA hopes this will help unravel even the most carefully hidden terror attacks.”


It comes in a variety of flavors, so to speak. The first is the ‘electric shock’ one, which is sort of low level and rather buzzy and involves skin conduction.


Electric shock sensor

The next one is bone conducted sound, which is a bit like Cyborg Neil Harbisson’s use of the occipital bone.


Bone conducted sound sensor

Finally there is flashing lights, which disrupts all sorts of alpha, beta, theta and gamma rays.


Look up in the sky - its a bird, its a plane, its flashing lights sensor

Since new algorithms are detecting such activities like gait, running, hanging out, and even how one holds onto objects, there is no end in sight for the fun things that can be bounced around big data repositories. The way Snowden suggests this would work is intense x-ray’s would be beamed to the human brain from roving cars with specially tuned radar systems. Animals and other living beings would be filtered out with special algorithms, so no chance Fido wanting his treats will be included.